A simple solution for how to end picky eating in your child is to avoid feeding the appetite for attention, which can be bigger than any appetite for food. There is a proven correlation in kids who crave attention at the dinner table and their eating habits.
I was 8-years old when my cousin was born. I remember my parents talking about how my aunt and uncle had said they were never going to let him have cookies or sweets. I also remember my parents looking at each other and rolling their eyes. This moment sticks out in my memory now that I’m implementing eating strategies for my own children. But my philosophy is a simple one:
I end picky eating by not being picky.
My sister is just the opposite. Every time we go out to eat with her 8-year-old daughter the time is spent with my sister saying, “You’d better eat all of that!” followed, in course, by my niece not eating a thing. She complains she doesn’t like anything on her plate and isn’t hungry. More threats are thrown out from her mommy that she had “better eat all of that!” Meanwhile, my son orders what he wants (which last time included a side of Mandarin oranges, which surprised even me) and always eats just about all of it without a word (except maybe “yum”).
I end picky eating by not worrying about every single thing my son eats. My strong and healthy 9-year-old boy is almost as tall as I am and has boundless energy. He eats just about anything I put in front of him without complaint – except brussels sprouts (and I totally agree with him on that one). Even when he has the chance, he doesn’t pig out on sweets. The reason for his temperance comes down to the fact I don’t hide sweets from him. It’s the end of April and he hasn’t opened the Valentine’s candy I gave him, candy that I’ve placed in decorative dishes. Then there was the time we decided to finish off the can of frosting after making cookies – I ate more than he did.
Child experts seem to agree with my philosophy on how to end picky eating. Babycentre agrees that the bigger deal you make about your kid eating, the harder it is to get them to eat. Other experts say it may be a matter of rebellion against the parents saying what kids can’t eat. Since I don’t make a big deal out of it, he has nothing to rebel against – at least not when it comes to food, anyway (He seems to find lots of other ways to rebel).
Of course, the extreme example of making a big deal about what your kid eats—by literally shoving food down their throat — results in negativity directed towards food, parents and mealtimes, says another expert at YourKidsTable.com. Doesn’t it follow that always obsessing about food around your kid may be the cause of food issues, as well? To end picky eating is to not make mountains out of molehills.
Sure, I try to make sure he gets a vegetable every now and then, but I also believe that food is there to be enjoyed and not fussed about. He eats what I give him but I’m not a helicopter mom dictating what, when and why every food item goes into his mouth. I know how to end picky eating. We anti-helicopter kitchen moms must be doing something right because our kids are growing off the charts.
As for my cousin, I haven’t seen him in years. I’m thinking about getting in touch with him again by sending him a box of cookies.