Are you worried that if you don’t serve foods that are easy to like your child won’t eat? The idea of having a hungry child is heartbreaking. Studies show that babies and children have the ability to self regulate and listen to their bodies’ cues. They will eat what they need if you serve it regularly – but kids can be incredibly erratic eaters. They might devour a whole lot one night and very little the next. That’s perfectly normal kid eating.
Your children need to see you eating healthy food. Liking healthy food. Eating reasonable portions. By modeling good eating, you’re sharing your love of good, nourishing food with your kids. They are watching and learning. They are eating what you are eating, even if they don’t swallow that cauliflower. It is working. It just takes consistent messaging and time. Every sour face in the high chair or at the dinner table is part of the process.
Just because a child falls down when she’s learning to walk does not mean that we don’t let her keep trying. She didn’t eat broccoli last time; try again! She chewed and spit it out; try again! She threw it on the floor; try again! And again, and again. Research shows that is takes 15 exposures before a child might try a new food. That is a lot of smashing before it even gets in her mouth. But it’s all of part of the learning process . It is working.
Parents, it’s time to take the pressure off yourself. Your job is only to serve a variety of healthy foods . Let your child be in charge of what goes in his mouth. He may not eat much of a certain food right now, but keep serving it – he is learning. For more information on how to apply these techniques to each stage of infant, toddler and child development, go to Ellyn Satter’s website.
Still frustrated feeding your fraggles? Check out my next blog. There is no such thing as kid food.