Ask The Expert: How Can I Encourage My Child To Be LESS PICKY With Food?

It doesn't have to be a struggle.
23 March 2020

Oh, the pain of raising a picky eater!

Consider these fuss-free solutions for your child, from Chef and Hospitality Teacher Kate Kinch of the Australian International School (AIS)

Plan Regular Meal Times

Make it about having a meal together rather than what is or is not being eaten. Offer three meals and three snacks at regular times each day, and give your child only water between snacks so he or she comes to meal times hungry. Only prepare one meal for the family instead of catering to your child’s meal demands.

Also remember: Parents, older siblings, uncles, aunties and friends are good role models for eating different foods. So, invite these folks into meal times, too.

Minimise Negativity

Refrain from using pressure, praise, tricks, rewards or punishments to get your child to eat. These actions create a whole heap of bad feelings around food. Allow your child to choose how much of each thing he or she will eat from his or her plate.

Try, Try Again

Keep putting food on his or her plate, even if it is just a small number of things he or she doesn’t like – offer these using different recipes on different days and at different meal times. If your child refuses to eat at snack or meal time, offer food at the next scheduled time.

Keep Time

Allow your child a maximum time of 30 minutes to eat. After that, offer food at the next scheduled food time. A longer time to eat doesn’t make he or she more likely to eat; it just increases the stress around meal times and doesn’t contribute to a happy, healthy eating environment.

The biggest tip is for parents: Stop worrying about it all the time. Just relax a little, and love your little ones through it because it’s perfectly normal for adults and children to dislike something.

The only international school in Singapore for students aged 2 months to 18 years that operates on a Southern hemisphere school year, Australian International School (AIS) offers a combination of robust Australian and international curriculum pathways to ensure that students reach their full potential.

Australian International School
1 Lorong Chuan, 566818
Tel: 6653 7906

From The Finder (Issue 302), March 2020

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