Preschool Parenting Class: Dealing with Picky Eaters

Mealtime can be miserable at times if your child is a picky eater. Have you ever found yourself dreading dinner time in your home because you anticipating the “battle” over what your child will eat. In this video we’re going to work through some ideas to help your picky eater try new foods without making meal time stressful.

Let’s be honest, if your child is a picky eater, it can be annoying. When they don’t eat what we’ve prepared, it comes across as an act of rebellion. It’s like they are saying, “I’m in control here, and there’s nothing you can do to make me eat this.” That has the potential to make you as a parent feel pretty powerless.

Here are some strategies to help you bring back some of the joy of meal time in your home.

First of all, Make sure your kids are hungry at meal time. I’m not at all suggesting you starve your child. But one of the common reasons your child might be choosy about their food at meal time is because they are so full from snacking through out the day. Try making a little more space between snack time and dinner time. It might allow a natural hunger to motivate your child to try more food.

Here’s my second tip for making meal time a bit more manageable. Set yourself up for a win when you prepare their plate. In order to increase the types of foods that your child is willing to eat, you’ve got to regularly introduce to them new foods. One approach you can try is to prepare a food that you know your child likes and serve it right next to the new food you’re introducing. Then you can say “If you take a three bites of everything on your plate you can have dessert.” If there is something on their plate that they like, your child will not view this as much of an impossible task, and just might surprise you with what their willing to do for dessert.

Finally, let’s remember that meal time is about more than food. Yes, we want our child to grow their list of foods that they are willing to eat. In fact, some parents actually write out a list of foods their child will eat and encourage their child to add to the list. But the family meal time is really about connecting with one another. This is a priceless time to have faith based conversations in your home. Many parents just simply read a Scripture or two before the family begins eating. Just bringing your Bible to the table every night for dinner communicates to your kids the importance of God’s Word. You might also consider playing some games together at the table. I know we were taught as kids, “Don’t play with your food.” But one of the best things you can do with kids is speak their language, which is the language of FUN. So maybe you don’t play with your food, but you can enjoy a quick game together at the table after everyone is done eating.

The point is that you can choose to make dinner less about a power struggle, and more about making a connection. When you do that, your picky eater might just surprise you with their willingness to try something new.