The best way to discipline a picky eater is let them discipline themselves. This is hard at first, however it saves headaches, arguments and an unhealthy diet in the long run.
The way this works is that the child will be empowered to eat how much of a food they want. You on the other hand, will choose what the food is that they will get to eat. This does not mean that the only options the child has are foods that they will likely not eat. In fact the biggest trick is to come up with a selection of healthy foods at each meal that your child will eat.
Children learn their eating patterns very young, around three years old. Therefore, if they are taught to eat fruit and vegetables at that time then it is more likely that it will be their habit for life. However, introducing those healthy foods can sometimes appear difficult.
As you are preparing the meal for your family, take into consideration that a child has a different set of taste buds, and they will usually learn to eat new foods, if given the chance. However, some tastes are a little strong. Therefore in order to create healthy foods a child will eat, offer selections that are healthy, but easier for them to learn to eat.
A good way to learn and introduce new foods to your child is through adventures like taste-tests, and letting them pick out their foods at the grocery store. This does not mean that you have to change your meals around your child. However, for their better health, it means that you need to know what they will eat.
A taste test is a fun way to introduce new foods. The child will have an opportunity in one bite to find out if they like the food. Picking their healthy food at the store gives them the opportunity to show you what they like.
After you have taken the right steps to find out what your child likes, then it is time to implement the discipline into their meals. For example:
Dinner consists of:
Out of that, your child can choose what they will eat. This is what is usual for many kids.
Spaghetti sprinkled with cheese, no sauce
This meal is still healthy, however they are empowered to eat food that is easier on their taste buds. Also, eating their food is easier for them to handle on their own.
Children love to be able to control their own world. This means being able to feed themselves with their utensils and fingers. When they are empowered to eat on their own they will take a more active roll in eating.
Now comes the hard part. You have done all that you can to make sure that your child can eat their food. Next it is up to your picky eater to eat. If they choose to not eat, then they choose not to eat period.
Many pediatricians agree that a child will not starve himself. If you give them every option to eat, then after a time or two of them choosing not to eat, they will become hungry.
Start out the meal with proper expectations. Let the child choose how much they want to eat of the food that is healthy that you provided for them. However, let them know that when they are done eating, they are done eating. There will not be a treat, or other food given to them until the next meal, or snack time.
The first time or two that you do this, and the child chooses not to eat the healthy food, they will get hungry and fussy. However within that time or two, as long as you are consistent, they will not only understand the discipline, but also change the behavior themselves.
It takes a little time to change a habit. Therefore, it is important to stay consistent and give change the time it needs. However, it is vary rare that children will let themselves go hungry.
You will also create a more peaceful atmosphere at the dinner table when trying to discipline your picky eater who won’t finish their dinner by letting them discipline themselves.