Posted on: 23 June 2018Share
Most parents work hard to provide their children with nutritious, well-balanced meals. However, kids often have a different idea when it comes to what they're willing to eat. Toddlers, in particular, are notoriously picky, leaving parents to beg their pediatrician for answers on how to get them to eat. Here are three tips to help you navigate the waters of food, "Terrible Twos," and setting your children up for a healthy relationship with both food and you.
1. Don't Negotiate With Terrorists
Around the age of two, a baby moves from complete dependence on his parents to beginning to assert his independence. "I want to do it myself" is the mantra of most toddlers, and they truly don't recognize their limitations. It isn't easy being a toddler. They are learning to control their body functions. They are learning to communicate. They come to the sudden realization they have self-autonomy and aren't an extension of their mother, after all. This bid for independence comes with the toddler asserting his will, and one of the first areas they typically do so is with food.
Rather than begging a child to try one bite of something, threatening to withhold dessert, or promising a treat if they eat their vegetables, simply allow them to choose what they will and will not eat. Food should not be used as a reward or a punishment. This doesn't mean give into their every demand. It means your job is to provide a wider array of nutritious whole foods and then they choose what to put into their mouth. You do not want to engage in a power struggle, which can set the stage for eating disorders and spill over into the other dynamics of your relationship eventually.
2. Eat As A Family
It's a busy, hectic world, but insisting the entire family sit down to a meal together is perhaps one of the most important decisions you can make as a parent. Studies routinely show that families who eat together result in children who have fewer weight issues, do better in school, eat healthier foods, and are less likely to engage in things such as underage drinking, drug experimentation, and promiscuity. Children are also more likely to be open to new foods when they see Mom and Dad and their siblings enjoying the variety.
3. Start Early
If your children are infants yet, you can set them up for success when you begin feeding them solid foods. It isn't necessary to buy commercially prepared baby food. Buy a food mill and simply puree the foods the rest of the family is eating. Then, when they are able to feed themselves, they will already be accustomed to the seasonings and flavors of the foods you normally serve your family. Some children who are on the autistic spectrum have sensory issues with food, such as textures or flavors. If you feel your child's eating habits are outside the norm, be sure to consult with your pediatrician for additional advice.
For more information, contact a company like Choice Medical Group.