Fine. Everyone said you’re the best cook since the time you started cooking. Your guests never stop praising all the delicacies that you shower on them. You always get phone calls from friends asking for recipes for your special items. You take much more care and pain to cook for your beloved kid. But…………….He/she doesn’t want to eat and always fusses at the dining table.
This is very annoying.
Don’t worry. You’re not alone! Every home has a fussy eating kid. They test your patience, you feel like beating them or tying them up and putting all the food into their mouth. Sometimes you just starve as you don’t feel like eating when they are going empty stomach. But, that is not a solution. Remember that this action of yours will not fill their stomach. Then what is the solution?
Here, a number of ways are suggested which might make your child eat. As every child is unique, some might work for some kids and some might for some others. Try all of them.
1) Don’t force or threaten: It is not fair on our part to punish them if they do not eat. We too do not feel like eating so times. Imagine how we would we feel if someone threatens us a punishment when we are not in a mood to eat. This also makes kids dislike food more. Instead you can follow the next step.
2) Starve them: Remember the time when your kid was a new born baby. You never had to force him/her milk. Instead they would cry when they felt hungry. Hunger is a natural thing. When they say no to food, plead them. When they are adamant, leave them. Do that everyday. Let them play. How many days can he/she be hungry. Let them experience hunger. Just keep cooking delicious food everyday, keep the junk food away. They will come back for regular food after a few days. This of course seems as a harsh way, but it is better than threatening them, as that will have a psychological affect and change their attitude towards their food intake. Remember that you do this only when the child is healthy and is on a vacation home, as not eating might cause dizziness. Do not show your frustration when he/she says no to food. Instead say ok and move on with your lunch and dinner. Pretend as if his “not eating” does not bother you. Be patient and you will see the results soon.
3) Make the food attractive: Kids love colors, magic, decoration, cartoons and so on. Bring out your creativity. Serve the food in the most attractive way possible. Make faces with sauce. Cut salads in different shapes. Ask them to guess what you have made. Change their serving bowls from time to time. Let them choose their plates from the shop.
4) Involve them in cooking : This will make them feel more responsible. They will be curious to know about the preparation methods. They definitely will be more interested in eating food that they have participated in preparing rather than something which has been made with all the effort that they never see.
5) Set timetable: Be realistic when you serve food to them. Agreed that you can afford to feed them a variety of dishes. But, remember that he/she might not have the capacity to take them. Always pestering them to eat this and that will also make them dislike food. Give a proper gap between the feedings. Let them feel hungry. Every child who is healthy does feel hungry as we feel. If you are going to feed a full meal, then make sure that they do not eat chips or other snacks just before that as they are very filling to the tummy. Try to maintain specific times for their food. They will automatically feel hungry at the particular time they are supposed to eat (if they are not gulping anything in between).
6) Let the child decide the menu: Children love if you take their advice. Ask them the menu once in a while.
7) Same meal time: Try to coincide the child’s meal time to the family’s meal time. This is a traditional way of eating too. Probably eating together is one of the reasons that kids were less fussy in olden days. Do not be very strict regarding the way they are eating and do not say things like they are fat or thin while they are taking food. This will only annoy them. Just serve the common food and pretend as if you are not noticing how they are eating. Start a conversation, so that they are involved in that and they finish their food before they realize.