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Every baby is born a healthy eater.
Babies want to drink milk – which is the healthy food. They prefer breast milk which is even healthier.
When babies are weaned – they are happy to eat the dal, rice and vegetables that they are offered.
And then over a period of time – some of these children turn into picky eaters.
Parents are surprised and upset when their children start preferring junk food over healthy food. Or when they begin to ask for one particular food at every meal – while rejecting everything else that is offered. And that leaves parents asking the question “How did my child become a Picky Eater?”
So what happens to children? Why do they turn into Picky Eaters?
When your child refuses to eat the healthy food you offer don’t quickly label her a picky eater. Children refuse food either because they are not hungry or because they are suspicious of new food . They do not refuse healthy food because they want junk food. Don’t compel your child to eat just anything because of your fear she might become a picky eater – you will turn her into one
If your child could put her thoughts into words – here is what she would say
“Mamma when I refuse to eat
I may not be hungry.
I may be bored with the same old food.
I may not be comfortable with the new food.
But when I refuse to eat I am never asking for my food to be replaced with junk food.”
If you don’t want your child to be a picky eater stop expressing your love through food. When you express your love through food and your child rejects the food it makes you feel like you have been rejected children reject food for various reasons. Don’t take the rejection of food personally. Your child is not rejecting you when he rejects the food you offer.
When you express your love through food. Rejection of food feels like a personal insult. Remember your child does not know how much hard work went into creating her meal. So when a child rejects a meal don’t imagine that she is trying to belittle your hard work or reject your love. Don’t let your desperation to be accepted compel you to appease your child by offering junk food.
If you are feeling guilty about the long hours of work that kept you away from your child all day. Don’t try to compensate by conveying your love through food. Remember after all those hours of separation your child needs food for the soul as much as he needs food for the body. Hug kiss talk listen. Emotionally satisfied kids don’t need junk food to comfort them
When your child refuses a meal don’t rush to offer alternatives to healthy food. Children need healthy nutritious food. Don’t abandon the meal to make instant noodles. Persist with your offer of healthy food and know that you are dong the right thing
Children need to build comfort and familiarity with healthy food. And this is how you can build your child’s relationship with healthy food.
1.Offer the same food the rest of the family is eating.
2.Do not offer alternatives.
3.Eat your meal with enthusiasm if you are hungry.
4. Never get angry with your child for not eating. Give him a hug and a kiss instead. Watch this video to learn what you are upset because your child did not eat
Never do the following –
1.Don’t get consumed by guilt when your child doesn’t eat.
2.Don’t feel compelled to stay hungry until your child eats. It does not help at all.
3. If you are hungry – don’t feel guilty – just EAT. Relish your food. When your child watches you eat with gusto – you make him hungry too. When you are full you are also less likely to lose your temper.
4. Never force your child to eat. When you force your child to eat and your child refuses to eat – a moment of love becomes a moment of conflict. If your child refuses to accept love as food offer him love in other forms. Talk to him listen to him hug and kiss him. Don’t allow love to be replaced by anxiety and anger
Relax. Focus on offering as much food for the soul as you offer for the body. You will have a healthy eater.
Also read this article to find out how a child becomes a picky eater