Our Tips On Getting Your Child To Eat
- Parents Only
By: Hayley Dean, ellaslist.
We recently posted an article on meal ideas for your kids. In it we noted how it truly is the one parenting topic you need the most amount of emotional support for. No one ever prepares you for the test of endurance you are destined to face.
We felt your pain and we marched right alongside you. That’s all great, you said, but how do you actually get the kids to eat in the first place?!
So we put on our life jackets and come up with these top 6 tips to get your child to eat:
- Get them to help.
Kids LOVE to help. They love to be involved and most importantly, they love to feel trusted. Try writing your family meal plan with their help and input. Then do the shopping together and of course, let them help cook too. A big reason kids won’t eat is not because they don’t like the taste but rather because they are expressing their free will in one of the only areas of their life that they have complete control over.
- What’s in a name?
Instead of simply calling the dinner what it really is, why not come up with a fun, magical, exciting name they can connect with. My son calls fish fingers “Side Ways chips” and loves them. He will happily eat them without fuss but if I accidently call them fish fingers by mistake, he absolutely WILL NOT EAT THEM, no way, no how, forget it.
- Be Creative.
Extending on the name idea, try being creative in how you lay out the meal. My Mum used to make “Sailing boats” on special occasions and it was the only time I would happily eat egg as a child. You can make a face out of most meals and it doesn’t take much to turn kale into hair or vegies into facial features like noses or eyes.
- Don’t Give up.
As hard and as frustrating as it seems now, the winds of change will soon blow your way and they will start to eat again. Try regularly adding one new thing on their plate and give them the option to try it if they wish. Some experts say that kids need to see at item on their plate at least 10 times before they will try it. You’ve got this, you can do it.
- Let it Go Elsa.
This is a great tip. Let it go babe, just let it go. Do not make a big deal out of meal times. This is one of those times when you really need to pick your battles wisely. At the end of the day, does it really matter if they eat the apple before the carrot or if you have to space all the food items so they don’t touch (god forbid) or they don’t lick the bowl clean? As hard as it is to believe, children do not set out to make your life harder; they are learning. If you make food/meal times a “thing” then they will too.
- Eat together.
Relax and eat your meals together. Use this time as a chance to reconnect as a family; talk to each other, listen to one another and silently lead by example. Kids always learn more from what they see compared to what they are told.
Of course, if all else fails, cook yourself something really nice, move into the bathroom whilst you’re on the phone and voila(!) you’ll have their complete attention.
Got a tip you’d like to share? What works best in your household?