Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Picky Eating Bootcamp Update

One of the wonderful things about homemaking is being able to be home and spend lots of time with our children. Being at home means that I have more time to spend training and teaching our daughter. It takes a lot of time (and quantity time as well as quality time) to train children. One of my jobs as a mother is to hopefully encourage my children to be grateful for what they have. This includes being grateful for the food that is offered to them and eating it with a happy heart.

We have recently been addressing the issue of picky eating with our 16 month old daughter. I had made the mistake of catering to her by giving her whatever (within reason) she preferred to eat. I would let her try the meal I had made and if she didn't like it, then I would make her something else she likes. After a couple weeks of this, I decided enough was enough. I wasn't going to keep on making double meals like this for the rest of my life! Unfortunately, our daughter had gotten a little behind on graduating to "real people food" while she had been hospitalized and quite ill for a few months around her first birthday.
Here's how we addressed the situation:

At first try, I made the mistake (in my opinion) of making meals a battle. There was much frustration for both of us, and it just wasn't working. I was getting worn out with the battles and we weren't seeing much progress. The idea had been to offer her what we were having and then if she didn't like it, she had to wait until the next meal. This didn't really work for us.

Then, I got on the internet and did a little research. I came across this article about addressing picky eating. What I liked about it was that it didn't turn the meals into a full blown battle. The method was simple. Offer her a food she recently refused to eat. If she doesn't want to eat it, let her down from her high chair, smile, and say something like "let me know when you are hungry and we'll try again. In our family, we eat what we are offered." Then, when she let me know she was hungry again, I went to the fridge, got out the same food that I offered her before, and tried again. Repeat process until she eats the food that was originally offered. (Deal with bad attitudes and spitting out/throwing food as you normally would.) But if she simply refuses, don't make a big deal of it.

We started this about one week ago and have seen very good results so far. We have been able to have her eat rice, chicken, mashed potatoes, squash, beef, scrambled eggs, and oatmeal (all foods she refused previously). The first day was pretty rough as she didn't give in until about bedtime. However, the next day was a bit better, and it only took her until noon to finish her scrambled eggs from breakfast. The 3rd day was a bit rough again, but she finally gave in and ate her supper from the night before. We have loosened up a bit over the past few days because we've been so busy with doctor's appointments that I haven't had the time to keep trying new foods for her. It feels like we took a couple steps back today as she refused to eat her lunch (homemade mac n' cheese with a bit of cooked ground beef mixed in). However, I'm pretty confident that if I get back to the consistent method, we'll see lasting results.

*Linking up to Raising Homemakers*

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