By the time your new addition reaches -toddler-hood’ you’ll notice he has a mind of his own and he’s learnt he can pretty much rule the roost with his demands and his decisions! Trying out the new food you give him is no exception!
But before you label him a -fussy eater’ consider that he is learning bucket loads each day – his colours and numbers, new words, and he’s discovering all the exciting things in the environment around him. So surely it’s not too serious that trying out new foods is just too much of an effort for his little mind right now!
If you bear this in mind and recognize the fact that children are creatures of habit, you will be able to relax in the knowledge that at this age, rejecting new foods is quite normal for him.
Perseverance is the name of the game here as it is seldom that your toddler will take to a new food the first time around. It can often take a good few tries before he may accept it. The key here is to keep trying, perhaps once every few days, and never make a fuss with him if he rejects it.
Turning meal times into an emotional boxing ring will only cause your little man (who thinks he rules the world!) to stand his ground still further. And at the end of the day both of you will end up frustrated and in tears. He will remember his victory over this match the next time you bring another new food to the match!
Queen Mom’s in charge
Your best option is to let him know the Queen actually rules, but do it in a calm way and without making a fuss about his eating. And then give him the chef’s hat and involve him in the preparation of his meals, and engaging him in the presentation of his food in a colourful, fun way will go far in convincing him to eat it.
Give him time to acquire the new taste. Remember this is all foreign to him and he could be unsure of the taste and the texture of foods. Introduce one new food at a time to his delicate little taste buds and once he’s acquired a taste for that particular food, move on to the next introduction.
Never make an issue of him messing his food in his attempts to feed himself. This will only make meal times stressful for both of you and it is very important he learns to feed himself, despite the mess at first.
He will also enjoy a variation in textures and tastes of food so be sure you include a variety of both such as crunchy, smooth and sweet and savoury.
When at home, always sit him in his feeding chair in the same place and in the same room. Children love routine, in fact, they thrive on it. This eating structure should be in a place where things around him are always the same. This also includes ensuring there are no distractions from outside such as the television beckoning his attention or a window where he can see older children playing outside.
Choices within each food group
If you find your little man doesn’t enjoy a certain food and you are clearly not having any luck, try something else from the same food group or try the same food again a few days later but cooked in a different way. Use this rule with the other food groups, too.
Having older children in the family can really help your toddler get on with the business of eating all sorts of foods. At the toddler age your child will constantly be looking to older siblings, trying to imitate almost everything they do. Let your older children set the example for your toddler so he can copy their every move at the dinner table.
Meal times with a fussy eater can be disastrous for the whole family, or it can be viewed as a phase that needs to be addressed in a calm and controlled manner. The choice is yours to make.
Control – in the right hands – will see you win the day so keep control of meal times and more importantly, his eating at all times. Remember, the Queen rules in this hierarchy!