Pickiness and selective eating are fairly common. They develop around age two. The duration of the habit depends on the parental response.
You can’t control everything that goes into your child’s mouth, but you can control your approach to mealtimes.
- Be a good role model. Your behavior will influence how your child responds to foods. Siblings are very influential.
- Serve one meal for the entire family. Establish this is what’s for dinner, and do not make something else for you picky child. You aren’t a restaurant. Let your child determine from the dinner available what he’s going to eat and how much.
- Involve your child in the process. Let your child help shop for meal components and assist in the preparation. Make sure every meal includes at least one item your child likes.
- A hungry child will eat. If you want your child to eat more veggies, put out a veggie tray after school. Introduce foods you really want him to eat when you know he’s hungry.
To encourage healthy eating at home, you can develop good eating habits. Reduce the junk food in your house and have plenty of healthy foods available. Let your child experiment with cooking under adult supervision. Sneaking healthy foods into favorite foods doesn’t foster smart eating choices and can damage your child’s trust.
Listen as Dr. Natalie Muth joins Melanie Cole, MS, to get your picky eater to expand his horizons. Visit Healthy Children for recipe ideas.