Maybe you’re familiar with this scenario: You’ve prepared a delicious meal for the whole family to enjoy, but there’s one particular family member who has made it loud and clear that they are not going to enjoy it. In fact, this person says it’s either grilled cheese or bust.
I’ve seen and heard of many parents who blame themselves for it, thinking it must be their fault for not introducing certain foods early enough or being too lax in discipline. But the truth is, in most cases, it’s just a normal part of development. Kids are still growing, and their taste buds are changing, so what tastes good to them one week could be different the next. Most grow out of it and learn to enjoy all types of food, but that doesn’t make it any less frustrating with in the moment.
There are several schools of thought on how to deal with picky eaters, one being a hardline stance of telling the child, “You eat what we have, or you don’t eat.” While you definitely don’t want to turn yourself into a short-order cook at every meal, there are other ways to deal with the problem that don’t have to involve confrontations or ultimatums.
Keep in mind that your role as a parent is to provide healthy food at regular times. It’s your child’s job to decide how much of that to eat. Here are some tips to make mealtime more manageable.
While it is true that most kids grow out of picky eating, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth talking to a pediatrician about it. Recent research has linked “selective eating” in some children to other health issues such as separation anxiety and ADHD. So if this is an issue in your household, feel free to bring it up at your child’s next visit.