Q&A: Feeding our picky eater

Q: How can we get our finicky four-year-old to eat what we give her? Her selective eating habits are driving us crazy. I see this as disobedience, but my spouse fears that making an issue of it will lead to eating disorders later. Help!

A: First, make sure that you and your spouse are on the same page and can work as a united team to map out and follow a plan of action. And rest easy: responding to mealtime wilfulness with appropriate consequences will not cause an eating disorder later in life.

Begin by setting firm guidelines as to what she eats, how she eats it, and how long it takes to finish a meal. Make it clear that you expect her to eat what you prepare. You can offer a choice between two equally nutritious options – say, broccoli or beans as the vegetable – but don’t allow her to pick between beans and biscuits.

Most importantly, don’t turn meals into power struggles. Just give clear, simple instructions about your expectations and then move forward with your normal mealtime routine. If you provide a wholesome selection of foods and she isn’t interested, don’t fight or force her to sit for hours at the table until she eats it. Give her a reasonable amount of time to finish her food, then put it in the refrigerator until she’s hungry. Don’t allow her to become stuck in a rut of three or four foods that are “the only things she ever eats.” She won’t starve if you hold your ground.

Note: be aware if she’s responding to certain textures – some children can be more reactive than others in their sensory world, including food.

Remember, mum and dad must agree on how to respond to this issue, and each of you needs to stick with it and follow through on the plan. Otherwise, the problem will persist and your mutual frustration level will only increase.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

Share

Share on facebook
Share on whatsapp
Share on email

MORE

MARRIAGE

article-m-Warning-Signs-Of-An-Affair

Warning Signs Of An Affair

Can you recognise the symptoms of a troubled marriage? Most extramarital affairs do not start out with the candid revelations, but there are certainly overt factors that can lead to marital unfaithfulness.

Read More >

PARENTING

10-steps-better-sleep-family

10 Steps for Better Sleep For Your Family

Good sleep is essential to maintaining physical, emotional, spiritual and social health. However, many people are seriously sleep deprived. Dr. Meg Meeker discusses the benefits of getting good sleep and some of the potential problems parents and kids may experience if they don’t get enough rest at night.

Read More >

FAMILY Q&A