That’s right folks. Food. It’s something that most people enjoy, but it’s also the bain of many parents of picky & stubborn eaters. In an ideal world, the thought of food and families would conjure up rosy and wholesome images of smiling parents and children eating lovingly-prepared food around the table together. For many parents, this image is far from accurate. Unfortunately, the dreaded f-word has the potential to turn many parents into frothing-at-the-mouth, snake-haired shadows of themselves…and imbues many children with all the stubbornness of 100 mules.
Sometimes, of course, children are going to be stubborn just because they can. At times like this, plate after plate of their favourite foods will be greeted with firmly closed lips and a nose in the air every time. I maintain though, that encouraging your child(ren) to try new things and have an adventurous palate does make things easier in the long run.
Don’t Pass Your Dislikes Onto Your Child
All of us have foods that we absolutely hate. On an aside note, for me these are (in no particular order) – tinned fish/meat, tinned asparagus, dried fruit, bananas, licorice and mushrooms. I’m not going to stop my kids eating these things though, just because I don’t like them. Even more importantly, I make a point of not being demonstrative in my hatred of these foods, andcarrying on about how awful they smell and/or taste. This is because, as we all know, children are great copiers. If they see you, or someone else they look up to, saying certain things or acting a certain way, it’s a sure bet they’ll do the same thing at some point.
Mix It Up
You don’t have to be a gourmet chef to make food interesting for your kids, and if they never get used to having the same thing prepared the same way every time there’s less chance of them becoming fussy about it. Use the same ingredients prepared different ways; use different sauces; if your children are old enough, once or twice a week put all the food on the table in bowls with tongs and let them help themselves.
Broaden Your Own Horizons
If you want your children to be happy to try new things, you have to as well. You don’t have to be overly adventurous, of course; it’s more a case of keeping an open mind about trying new things rather than greeting them with suspicion.