5 Steps To Win Over Your Picky Eater
A Good Offense:
Pass the plate! And if at first you get rejected, pass again and again. Continue to introduce new foods of variety of textures. You may need to offer the same types of meals multiple times before they decide it's worth a try. Just remember: they can't decide to try something new if it's not available. Be sure to offer a mix of different texture consistencies from crunchy to wet to pureed to chewy in a variety of colors and flavors.
Be a Cheerleader:
No poms needed, but be sure to bring your encouraging and exciting attitude with you to the field... er, table. Remember the primary goal is to build a positive connection to mealtime between the people engaging in the routine and also the foods presented. Offer words of praise consistently, allow your child to play with their food (it's a good thing!), and show your love for enjoying the food also.
Keep Your Defense in Check:
Working through problem eating habits can be frustrating, but remember to remain patiently consistent with your positive approach. This is no time for a defensive response to your little one's refusals or negative behaviors. If you need to take a break in order to rouse the troops back to a positive frame of mind, that's just fine! Do what it takes to keep all mealtime interactions pleasurable ones!
Bring in the B-Team:
Sometimes your only option is to retreat, so be prepared with a back-up meal tucked away in the kitchen. If your picky one protests too much for too long or shows signs of distress that can't be overcome by your best attempts, it's time to move on by providing what you know will be a winning hit for them. Use this tactic with caution though. We don't want to reward poor behavior during mealtimes, so use your proverbial gut to guide you. A parent's instincts are invaluable in deciding when too much is too much.
Know When to Call the Game:
Don't panic when even the back-up meal is a no-go! When all attempts are rejected and your little player is halfway to the locker rooms or climbing down from the highchair, it's probably time to call the game. Remember to give your little eater the respect of trusting their own body's appetite. Sometimes just because the clock says it's dinner time or we anticipate children should be hungry doesn't mean they actually are. Do what you can to end on a small victory in any form to keep the concept of meals a positive one. If all strategies fail and you or your child’s pediatrician have concerns, call the pros! A Speech-Language Pathologist and Occupational Therapist experienced in pediatric feeding disorders can address physical and sensory-based feeding issues.
Try these tricks consistently and you'll be winning them over in no time at all! If you need more tips, techniques or think it's time to consult with a professional for a skilled feeding evaluation, we would be happy to help. Call 501-315-4414 to speak with our Patient Coordinators or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about our services.
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