From time to time I have cared for toddlers that are very particular about what foods they like. My food menu includes a variety of foods that toddlers tend to like. However, even with a menu full of yummy healthy foods, you may need to be patient with a little one that refuses to eat the foods you offer. Don’t take it personally. Sometimes it could be reasons as simple asthe little one getting used to different food textures or tastes, or not accustomed to eating certain foods. I have found the less pressure you place on a child about eating what is in front of him or her, the more chances he or she will try a little bit of the food. Let your child be. Let your little one use different senses to play with the foods like touching, squeezing, smearing, dipping their fingers in the food, or whatever. Messiness and accidentally dropping foods on the floor is to be expected while exploring foods. Sometimes I may ask if he needs my help with using his toddler utensil. If he refuses my help, that’s ok. Ordinarily, not always, picky eaters eventually try new foods. This tends to happen when he sees others eating the same foods. If your little one is throwing the food on the floor, this generally means he has no interest. At this point, it’s time to either have the food removed or time to wash up.
Here are some helpful tips that I have tried in the past:
See if your little one likes to dip the food in a small amount of condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, and ranch dressing. See if he needs help in how to poke with a fork. Serve small portions in small pieces that are easy to pick up.
I remember one little girl I cared for who wouldn’t touch certain fruits or vegetables. So I tried a new tactic and suggested she poke her fruit with her fork and lick it like a lollipop. She liked that idea. She agreed that it tasted like fruit juice. However, that was as far as she was willing to go. This went on for a couple of months. I didn’t pressure her about it. Then finally, a few months later, I asked her if she wanted to take just a tiny nibble of the fruit. She actually took a tiny bite of the fruit. The next day she tried a different kind of fruit the same way and actually ate all the fruit from her plate. I praised her and she was proud of her accomplishment.
Another suggestion is to not bring out more foods just because he is not eating the foods you offered. This sends the message that if he just sits there, then he will get his favorite foods in a little while. If you are consistent with serving what is on the menu, your little one will soon understand that you only serve certain nutritious foods. Surprisingly, with this tactic, your child will eventually give in and start liking the nutritious foods served in your home.
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