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It’s normal

BUT the decisions you make now have the potential to heal or harm

Here’s how to stop it from developing into true fussy eating

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Your child might be pushing their plate away and telling you dinner is “yuk” or dropping food on the floor while whining that they “don’t like it.”

But You Need To Know That This Is Normal For Young Children.

They Can Skip Meals Or Suddenly Refuse To Eat Foods That They Once Loved and this fussy eating can go on for years, depending upon how you respond.

You might be feeling incredibly frustrated as they liked that meal last week and if you’re honest with yourself you’re actually a little bit worried because they haven’t eaten enough to get the nutrients they need.

Young children WILL reject new food and make constant requests for the same favourites day in day out (fish fingers again?!) It’s part of their normal child development.

 

And it can be easy to slip into feeding them in front of an iPad or making meals you know they’ll eat.

Its scientific term is ‘food neophobia’ and it’s thought to stem from our caveman days to prevent inquisitive little people from accidentally poisoning themselves!

But wouldn’t it be wonderful to be sat around the kitchen table sharing a family meal and your little one is happily munching away on the broccoli and even asks for seconds!

Or perhaps you could go out for dinner again… even to a Thai restaurant! And not have to worry that there’ll be a children’s menu.

You can have this but how you respond to your child during this incredibly frustrating stage will determine how quickly you get there, or alternatively whether their fussy eating lasts longer and gets 10 times worse.

 

My Top 3 Tips:

1. Avoid power struggles at the table by knowing your role and their role in the feeding relationship. Parents decide on what’s on the menu, where your child will eat it and what time meals and snacks happen. Children are in charge of deciding how much they want to eat and when to stop – so ‘bite your tongue’ when you’re about to encourage them to have “one more bite” they’re actually really good at observing their internal hunger and fullness cues.

 

2. Create a rhythm for eating thats predictable for your child. It might look like breakfast – morning snack, lunch – afternoon snack – dinner – bedtime snack. Spacing out meals and snacks is great for teaching children about appetite regulation, its totally OK to say no if you get constant requests for snacks in between times.

 

3. Let your child play with their food! Playing is actually ‘sensory exploration’ and children learn to eat a wider range of foods that they’ve been able to play with. So let them get stuck in and don’t worry about table manners till they’re a bit older.

Want to learn more about feeding children?

I have some blogs that will be super interesting for you:

14 reasons why young children refuse to eat

5 ways to stop toddlers throwing food

Will ‘Family Style’ serving help my child eat more?

If you would like to learn how to work with me at The Children’s Nutritionist to help navigate this tricky phase you can DM me on Instagram with the word SUPPORT and I’ll send you a personal reply.

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