By following this simple plan, you too can avoid doubt and disappointment at dinner and give yourself and your family happier, healthier mealtimes. Pinky promise.
- Don't worry. Take a deep breath.
- Trust yourself.
- Trust your child.
- Practice steps 1-3 every day.
Okay, I know that sounds WAY too simple to work. But it will. Let's look at each step in a little more detail.
Step 1: Don't worry.
This, is key. Your child's behavior is NORMAL*. Your once adventurous baby has suddenly become a picky eater? Normal. Your daughter who used to love blueberries now wants nothing to do with them? Again, normal. So take a deep breath. There are other things you can worry about. Also, you are not alone. It is okay. It will all be okay.
Step 2: Trust yourself.
Your job is to decide what and when your kids can eat, and their job to decide if and how much. Make a commitment to continue offering new and healthy foods to your kids, no matter if they choose to eat them every time, and then trust this yourself and this decision. It is a smart one, and, over time, one that we are confident will result in your child coming through their pickiness phase as a more adventurous eater with a healthy relationship with food.
Not sure how to follow through with this commitment? Our Nudge line of plates and bowls can help because they remind you to give a little taste of something new each day. (Don't want to use our plates? That's ok! Find a way to give them a little taste without pressuring them to actually eat it.)
Step 3: Trust your child.
If you followed Step 2, then showing your children that you also trust them will bring you closer and make mealtimes happier and easier for everyone. Especially when they are given control over their own eating from the moment they join you at the dinner table, you can trust what they tell you because they are very good at listening to their internal signals of hunger and fullness.
You can further help them listen to their internal fullness cues by giving them control over their own utensils - stop spoon feeding them! Let them use their hands, use early feeders, or curved spoons that make it easier for them to feed themselves. Then, step back and trust. (not sure which spoons might be right for your kiddo? This guide might help.)
Step 4: Practice steps 1-3 every day.
That's it. Practice taking deep breaths, trusting yourself, and trusting your child and watch how much more enjoyable mealtimes can be. For more monthly mealtime inspiration you can join our mailing list (in the footer below), explore our Recipes blog, or checkout our additional Mealtime Tips.
* If changes in appetite are accompanied by other worrisome changes - weight loss, lethargy, vomiting, dizziness, aches, etc - then please see a doctor. These might be signs that something else is happening beyond normal developmental changes in food preferences.