If you are a parent of a Picky Eater, know you are not alone. Statistics show that picky eater’s range anywhere from 15 to 50 percent in preschool ages. While 7-27 percent in older children. Children will begin to eat more foods as they get older and will pass this stage. However, if it is persistent you will want to assess underlying causes that may cause your child to be a fussy eater.
First thing first, it is normal for children to go through a picky eating stage. Do you remember when you sat down to eat dinner as a child and there were foods you preferred and those you did not? I recall hating broccoli as a child, and now it is one of my favorite vegetables. It is normal for your tastes to change. As an adult, I have ventured out into a variety of foods from Thai Food to Indian. Things I never ate before. Introducing various spices and textures can help your child improve their food repertoire.
Let’s think back to when your child was an infant. They ate often, tripled their body weight, and were less finicky. However, as your baby grows into a toddler, their appetite tends to slow down while their independence increases.
While this phase is occurring, you must try to refrain from forcing, punishing, or bribing your child to eat. Studies have shown these methods are less effective.
I instruct the parents I work with to have a physical as well as cerebral activity prior to eating. Puzzles, obstacle courses, and building toys are all great to help your child develop an appetite. Arts & Crafts with food concepts have shown an increase in willingness to try that new food.
The good news is to remember it is just a little blip that your child is going through. Remaining calm and finding creative and fun ways to help your child be more comfortable around eating. Whenever you need a little help introducing new tastes or textures, don’t forget to Play With Your Food!
Sarah Appleman MS, OTR/L is the author of “Play With Your Food” and is a specialist in her field.