You try to give him food, he turns his head away.
You make what you thought was his favorite food, he pushes the bowl away.
You somehow manage to put it inside his mouth, he spits it out.
Experienced all this? Welcome to picky-eaters’ moms club! You are in here with on an average 30% of other mommies – so don’t feel alone and scared. Before learning about how to inculcate healthy eating habits in children; understand why your child is a picky eater in the first place.
Is Your Toddler A Fussy Eater?
Many toddlers tend to be fussy about food, especially during the second year. While some toddlers become wary of eating new foods, which is again very natural. It can be a child’s instinctive reaction when he perceives a food item to be unsafe, and he might be reluctant to try anything new. In the second year, toddlers tend to feel independent, as they can now walk, speak and do other stuff like adults, so being picky when it comes to food is again their way to assert their new found independence. However, this is generally a temporary phase and if handled correctly, picky eaters can be turned into healthy eaters. However, more often than not, it is one these eight reasons that make your little munchkin a fussy eater:
8 Reasons Your Child Is A Fussy Eater
You do not say no: You think saying no to your child’s wish for ice creams or processed food would mean you love him less. Or you are too pressed for time and energy to cope with your child’s tantrum. It is too difficult for you to not comply with your child’s preferences. And he knows it!
You think junk is okay: You might genuinely believe that it is okay to give your child junk food in moderation, may be even once a day. You think that children do not have to worry about being fat and calories at a young age. However, obesity in kids is more real than you think. Read more about obesity in children here
You always provide a favorite processed food as second choice: Every time your child says no to a healthy food, you tend to offer an unhealthy alternative in a bid to make him eat. And your child knows that if he refuses to eat dal chawal it is only matter of time before you offer him cheese toast. Soon, he starts to develop a preference for the taste of the processed foods and rejects healthy foods vehemently
You force your child to eat a lot every meal: Some parents are hell bent on their kids eating everything that is put on the plate. This is a bad habit. Your child’s appetite might depend on a lot of things, including his day’s activities. Let your child guide you in terms of the quantity he wants to eat. Running behind him with a plate of food would literally do no good
You/others in family eat meals different than the child: You might not be leading with examples at your home. When you force your child to eat broccoli while you yourself turn your face away from it, it does not teach him a thing on healthy eating. Eat a variety of food, eat it in front of your child and show visibly that you are enjoying your food. Feed the child the same food as you if he is big enough
Your child is becoming more independent: He wants to control what he wants to eat and what he does not. Saying no to food might be your child’s way of showing independence. As with other things, he is testing your threshold to see how far he can go with his stubbornness. This is normal and most toddlers ate the age of 2 years tend to assert their independence
Your child does not get enough exercise: If you child does not engage in outdoor play, then his appetite might never be big enough. It is imperative that children play and run about, and are constantly on the move. This activity not only helps in the physical development of your child but also enhances his motor skills. Playing with other children also contributes to your child’s social skills
Your child is going through a growth circle: Children’s eating habits fluctuate with their growth cycles. You will notice them eating more during growth sprouts and being picky at other times. This happens more frequently when your child is between 1 and 6 years of age
Some children tend to eat a lot in one meal and barely chew a morsel off the second. A varied appetite is nothing to worry about. Pressuring a kid to eat more may actually backfire with your kid becoming rebellious and stubborn due to constant nagging. Allow your child to regulate his food intake, and just ensure that he develops healthy eating habits.