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Home » Toddler

Help! My kid is a picky eater!

Submitted by on Sunday, 15 February 20096 Comments

When Love Buns cooked rice with peas for dinner the other night, I was unsure how Smarty Pants would receive it.

You see, sentences like, “I don’t like that,” and, “I don’t want it!” can frequently be heard from him at dinner time.  Not being such a big pea-fan myself, I was almost certain that Smarty Pants would pick the peas out and leave them aside.  Green stuff in general doesn’t go down too well with him.

peasWell, to my pleasant surprise, I was wrong.

Now before I continue this story, there is one thing you need to know about Smarty Pants:  he loves berries.  He loves them so much that when I told him we were going out for breakfast this morning, the first thing he asked was if he could have berries there.  I assured him that he could, and he was content.  (With that in mind, lets get back to the story…)

When Smarty Pants saw the rice with peas, he took one look at the peas and exclaimed, “Green berries!”  Hey, great concept! I thought, and went along with it of course…. “Yes, green berries, yummy green berries!” I replied.  Who says they need to be called “peas” anyways?  We’re allowed to use a little imagination here and there as parents, aren’t we?

This little episode got me thinking about a German cartoon we were watching a few days back.  The cartoon featured a brother who was trying to convince his sister to eat things she didn’t like, like carrots, mashed potatoes, and fish sticks.  He told her the carrots were rocket ships from Jupiter, the mashed potatoes were puffs of clouds, and the fish sticks were mermaids’ favourite foods.  She got excited about the foods, given this new information about them, and ate them.

I haven’t tried any of those “convincers” with Smarty Pants, but all of this has planted a seed in my head (or maybe a pea).  I don’t like the idea of lying to my kids, and I wouldn’t feel comfortable convincing Smarty Pants that carrots are really rocket ships from Jupiter, but I do like the idea of making food more interesting to him, and making him more excited to eat (or at least try) certain foods.

How do I make the food interesting without lying?  Using imagination is the key.  I don’t want to tell Smarty Pants that mashed potatoes are puffs of clouds, but I don’t have a problem telling him that they are “like puffs of clouds” or that he can “imagine that they are puffs of clouds.”

I also don’t have a problem telling Smarty Pants that the food is his favourite storybook character’s favourite food.  It’s not really lying, it’s just extending the story, or giving the character a few more characteristics.  Maybe it really is the character’s favourite food, for all I know.

In any case, a little creativity and imagination can sure go a long way in the uphill battle of getting a picky eater to try some new foods.

Do you have any ideas for how to get a picky child to eat or try new foods?  Share your ideas and tactics with us here!

Flickr photo courtesy of Gaetan Lee

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