If your child has experienced anxiety by being pressured to eat food "just two more bites, please..." for months or years, then gagging can become the automatic response at meal time.
Eating as a family is one of the most important things you can do to encourage healthy eating. Studies have shown that family meals positively impact grades, reduce drug use, and is associated with healthy body weight.
If your mealtime sounds more like a battlefield, here are a few ways to reduce the power struggle:
Tip 1: Did you know that eating new things takes courage and 10-20 exposures to that one particular food item? Let go of expectations and ignore how much he/she eats. Focus more on enjoying your child's company.
Tip 2: Kids do best when relying on their own internal motivation to eat. So, move away from the external motivators such as pressure, rewards, praise and rules.
Tip 3: Kids like predictability just like adults. Establish a regular meal and snack schedule and stick to it!
Tip 4: Don't pressure your child to eat. Kids, like adults, know when they are hungry and when they are full. Allow them to make the decision about what they'll eat while following your snack and meal time schedule.
Tip 5: Make mealtime a team effort. Have your child help you prepare the meal and set the table.
Being a "responsive" parent does not mean giving up all control, it just means valuing your time spent with your children one mealtime
at a time.
The Picky Eaters Feeding Therapy program is in full swing at Burke. Call, come by or stay tuned for more Positive Parenting Tips and more Food Academics!!