Give her the right foods
There are no two ways about it, in the 20 years I’ve been in childcare I’ve seen time and time again how poor nutrition leads to crazy sugar levels, and how bad behaviour can stem from that. Bad diet can also cause extreme mood swings in toddlers and under nourishment can affect a child’s concentration.
You need to give your child positive messages about food as early in her life as you can. Make mealtimes a family affair wherever possible, get her involved in food preparation, and as the weather turns warmer, incorporate picnics into your routine. Whether you have them at the seaside, in your local park or outside your back door doesn’t matter as long as you have them. Once she’s able to make positive associations with food, getting her to make healthy choices will become much easier, and that will, in turn, lead to a happier and better behaved child.
Fussy eaters aren’t born, they’re created (by parents)
I’m sorry to say it, but fussy eaters are created by you, the parents. Your child wasn’t born picky or fussy, instead she picks up the behaviour from the moment you start to wean her. The people who can pass good feeding habits on to her are the key role models in her life – you. Patience and endurance are the first things parents need to swallow.
Get her off the kids’ menu
Never in my 20 years working as a nanny have I had a child who was picky or fussy with their food. There’s no reason why your children shouldn’t be able to eat from the same menu (at home and when you go out) as yourself. Give them some choices (within reason obviously, avoiding spicy foods for the first few years) and as long as you show her that you have healthy eating habits, you’ll pass them on to her.
Make sure you do the healthy thing
You need to educate yourself about what foods are good for your child to eat, what’s going to make her healthy and strong and (most importantly) what she should avoid.
Already have a fussy eater?
Believe me, it is possible to turn your child around. Last year I helped a family whose toddler twins ate nothing but baby food when I first arrived. But by the end of my time with them they were enjoying sushi. You’ll be amazed at what you can do – get starting today.
Do it now!
Choose one new fruit or vegetable to have for dinner tonight, or better still, let your toddler choose something for herself. Even if she doesn’t like it, you’ll have succeeded in getting her excited about food.