LIFESTYLE | parenting
CLEAR THAT PLATE!
Ouiam Charkani El Hassani offers tried and tested tips to help mums of picky eaters. phase, and let’s make mealtime great again!
he responsibility of sustaining another human being's life is somewhat overwhelming. No child comes with a manual and, no matter how much we know, we are all faced with moments that keep us dazzled, bewildered and sometimes on the verge of tears. One of these moments is when you spend the whole morning making all kinds of scrumptious food and, when lunchtime comes, your toddler totally refuses to take even ONE single bite. Not one bite! No matter how much you know about health and wellness, once you have a child to feed every day – and especially if that child is a picky eater – you have a big battle on your hands and you need to be prepared. Picky eating is a normal phase that toddlers go through. A nurturing and accepting caregiver is the key to helping them pass through it, so it doesn't snowball into a bigger problem. If what you're currently doing just isn't working, accept the fact that you need to try something new Here are some tips that will help you and your child overcome this not very pleasant
• Sit down and have a meal together as a family every weeknight (if possible). This is the most important and often overlooked way of helping your child. The most efficient way of teaching a child anything is by DOING IT, in front of them. • Make a mealtime schedule and stick to it. Children are creatures of habit and they thrive with routine. Knowing what’s coming next gives them a boost of confidence, and helps them feel in control. • Expose your child to a variety of foods. In the early days when you can still control what your child eats, it’s crucial to expose them to a wide selection of tastes and flavours, so they can accept all kinds of foods later on in life. Introducing different shapes, textures, colours, spices… etc, is the key! • Make mealtime fun. Mealtimes can be stressful and overwhelming for some children, especially when they spy something completely new on their plate. Try telling stories, or even talking about the food you are having: its colour, its shape…etc. Remember you are also creating memories that you and your children will cherish forever.
• Get your kids involved in cooking. Being involved in the preparation of the meal and the cooking helps eliminate the element of surprise, and gives the child a little heads-up on what’s coming on the plate later. It also gives the child a sense of accomplishment, knowing that they MADE that food! • Offer two or three choices and always include one safe choice. It is just the perfect combination of allowing room for exploration of new foods and textures, and allowing more choices to help balance the meal. If you introduce a new food, always make sure there is something else that your child will surely eat, in case he isn’t a big fan of the new food. • Choose your words wisely. Instead of saying “Eat it”, how about “Try it”? Children instinctively resist persuasion and reducing coercion will help reduce the child's anxiety. • Allow total autonomy (but offer help if needed). Children – and all humans really – like to feel in control, especially when it comes to things that are coming directly into their mouths. However, if they need or request help, then that’s OK too. You can’t force your child to enjoy food, but you can help and guide them to navigate in this food exploration journey. Chanelmama
Vol.24 - Issue 3 - Your guide to a great way of life