Picky eating is a common phase most toddlers and kids go through in early childhood. Children at these ages are beginning to try a wide range of new foods, and their appetites generally decrease as their growth rate drops after infancy.
This is also the time at which children start having their own preferences, and these can be wildly unpredictable. Some kids won’t eat anything except for one or two favourite foods, while others will ask for certain items and then lose interest.
If you’re having trouble getting your child to eat a specific food, you should know that this is considered normal behaviour at this stage of their development. Yumble suggests these reliable tips to help them try new foods—even the ones they currently don’t want.
Tips For Picky Eating…
Avoid Bribes and Pressure
It can be frustrating when your child starts picky eating, and many parents are tempted to bribe or pressure them into eating a certain amount. On the other hand, the last thing you want to do is make your child feel like eating is an obligation or chore. If they really aren’t interested, it’s important to respect their decision and autonomy.
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You might want to give up on a new food if your child continues to refuse it or doesn’t like it on the first try, but research indicates that children often need to be exposed to a new food up to 10 times before warming up to it. They’ll likely grow interested in the target food if you keep giving them a small amount while letting them decide when they are ready to try it.
One of the best ways to get a child to warm up to a new food is by involving them in the meal prep process. If you let them pick out a vegetable for dinner, for example, they’ll be much more likely to eat it than if it showed up on their plate without notice. You can even ask them to help you with simple cooking tasks like stirring, measuring, and gathering ingredients.
Make One Meal
Your child may not like everything in the meals you make, but that doesn’t mean you should be expected to prepare something different just for them. Include as many familiar foods as possible, plus one or two new ones in case they’re in the mood to branch out.
Trying to get your child to eat the one food they aren’t interested in can be frustrating, but the vast majority of picky eaters come around with time and a supportive environment. Keep these tips in mind for your next meal and remember that your child’s eating habits won’t change overnight. Slow, consistent steps are the best way to help your child develop his or her tastes.
About The Author: Rae is a graduate of Tufts University with a combined International Relations and Chinese degree. After spending time living and working abroad in China, she returned to NYC to pursue her career and continue curating quality content. Rae is passionate about travel, food, and writing for Yumble.