Want to know the secret to how you get your kids to eat food?
No matter the deliciousness of the food, or how you present it. If they don’t want to eat it they won’t.
I’ve had kids who eat a specific type of food one minute, and dig their heels in the next. Their favourite food can soon become the most disgusting food in the world in the blink of an eye – it doesn’t even make sense.
All those times I made delicious looking plates of food on Facebook or Instagram – they have a hit rate of being eaten 40% of the time. That’s not high. So whilst they look amazing, the kids ultimately don’t give a shit.
The real key is helping YOU get through the roughness of them not eating, and encouraging them to eat.
I have found a few things help with the “don’t stress” process. These are really aimed at kids who are 2 years and older, unless you think your child can handle this:
- Don’t overload their plate – give them a small amount which makes them feel like once they’ve eaten it (no matter how small it is), it is an achievement, and something you can praise them for.
- Stick to the basics – don’t feel like you have to give them exotic foods to try. If you know all they’ll eat is pasta, cheese and a cherry tomato; give them that.
- Give them an incentive – i.e. once they’ve finished eating a piece of food, they can have a drink of water. Or they can have one toy to play with.
- I might be blasted for saying it, but sometimes distraction works: put a movie on. Let your kids eat while they watch TV. It’s not for life! It’s for one meal.
- Once you’re happy with what they’ve eaten, even if it’s a small amount, put the remaining amount somewhere they can access it later. Often kids will go back and “graze” for hours afterwards.
- If they don’t eat an acceptable amount of their meal, then there is nothing else to eat.
- If they complain they are still hungry after eating poorly, then simply offer them the cold meal.
Like I sad above, don’t feel bad if you have to give your kids the same food every night. Perhaps start introducing one thing that is different and encourage them to try it. For months and months my daughter ate pasta, sausages and cheese. That’s it.
Obviously we have branched out since then, but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.
With breakfast, I cut my kids toast up into 4 pieces (triangles or squares) and the rule is, they have to eat the toast before eating anything else. So small goals … one thing at a time.
AND REMEMBER: the above isn’t for life. Don’t worry about your kids eating away from the table or playing with a toy. It’s about surviving the meal.
You are in control, and you can change anything you want.
Have you found something that works during meal times? Let me know below!