This is a familiar situation for many parents. Even though you know your little one or preschooler should eat enough healthy food, the child himself doesn’t like anything and doesn’t want to eat. They don’t eat bread or vegetables, they don’t empty their plates, and they demand only sweets. The picky eater! There may be a lot of fighting at the dinner table, children crying, and parents worrying.
If the child is just growing, playing, and being physically active, there is little to worry about. During the first year of life, growth is rapid, averaging 3 to 10 kg; between the first and second year, growth is usually only 1 to 2 kg, and somewhat slower after that. Usually, children grow taller but do not gain much weight.
Of course, there are differences between the children. One tends to be a little stiffer than the other. Fortunately, not all are exactly the same!
Here are some tips to help you out!
Praise Rather Than Punishment: Keep It Fun!
First, eating should be fun and relaxing. Trying to get them to eat or constantly begging for another bite will not make it so. You cannot force a child to eat. Even if you put it in his mouth, if he does not try to swallow anything, he will not swallow. Sometimes, it can even become a means of (negative) attention. This is because with food, the child has power and can be very aware of it. Put food on the table, but try to make it something he likes or something you hope he will eat. Lasagna, for example, can hide a lot of vegetables.
And if it goes well, praise your child. Praise, not punish or complain. Eating should be fun.
Take your time, and don’t rush. The important thing is that the atmosphere is comfortable and relaxing. On the other hand, do not unnecessarily extend the time. Young children often have difficulty sitting still for long periods. When the meal is ready, and the child has not yet finished his or her plate (or does not want to eat), simply take the plate away without grumbling.
Involve Your Child in the Preparation
Let your child help with the cooking. Let them choose their own vegetables, shop with them, and help them prepare.
Teach them about new foods to get them interested. For example, tell Chinese children that they eat tofu a lot and that they eat Chinese stir-fry with chopsticks.
Feed Small Portions To Bad Eaters
Buy one minimal, sturdy pair of glasses. Pour a little juice or milk into it, and it will seem very little, and the child will finish the glass and ask for more in no time. Don’t forget to give lots of praise when they finish something.
What if Your Child Doesn’t Like Vegetables?
Vegetables and legumes are generally not preferred by children who are picky eaters. Here are some tips that can help convince your child:
Let them grab a small number of vegetables as a snack. Shred the vegetables, lightly steam them, and serve with the accompanying sauce, if desired.
Try using vegetables that look pretty, such as carrots, corn, cherry tomatoes, cauliflower cores, broccoli, etc.