Signs You Need To Cure Your Childs Picky Eating
Why You Need To Cure Your Childs Picky Eating Habits
How do you know you have a problem with picky eating?
A lot of children have things they like and don't like to eat, and there's nothing wrong with that. It's finding out when their dislikes go above and beyond normal that's at issue.
That's why it's important to know what to look for in your child's eating habits.
When you can spot the signs, you'll know when you have a picky eater in the family that needs to be helped.
A Baby With Picky Eating Habits Should Be A Concern
Babies can be picky eaters, and often are. From the moment they are born some children exhibit signs of picky eating and these problems can go away over time, but will often grow into bigger issues down the road.
Because you can't reason with a baby though, their refusal to eat certain things can be of more immediate concern. You should therefore never hesitate to consider any amount of pickiness something that's worth bringing up to the doctor.
Your child pushes away foods they used to love
Many parents find that their children aren't just refusing to eat certain foods, but they are refusing to eat foods that they once claimed to love. This often comes as a result of social influence, or a change in the way they perceive certain things.
When this happens you can be almost certain that it's not the foods themselves that your child doesn't like, because they used to eat them. Look into this immediately and try to stop it from becoming a growing problem.
Your child is picky about foods only in certain forms
Similarly, some kids will demonstrate that they love corn, but hate corn off the cob. Maybe they'll eat oranges, but dislike orange juice. There is a lot to be said about the texture of what we eat, and sometimes a lot of our enjoyment rests in that texture.
This explains why children may like foods only in certain forms. Should this start happening with a lot of foods, you are going to want to look into finding ways to get your child to overcome their distaste for it.
Your child is regularly willing to skip an entire meal
It is important that your child eats three square meals a day. When they don't, they open themselves up to a lot of problems. If your child is a picky eater in certain regards, it might not be a big deal. Should they be picky enough that they are willing to skip an entire meal out of dislike for some of the food, it becomes a large issue.
These are all signs that will push you towards wanting to cure your child of being a picky eater, but there are signs outside of the child as well. Having a picky eater in the family means you will have to do a lot more work when it comes to preparing meals.
Why put yourself through that kind of stress?
That's why they say curing a picky eater is in everyone's best interest.
Curing Picky Eating Presents Many Obstacles
If you set out to cure your picky eater, that child who refuses to eat most of the foods you give them, or at least the foods you wish they'd eat, you'll find that there are a lot of obstacles to overcome.
The problem is that it's not an easy process. There is a need to invest a lot of time into getting them over their pickiness, and while you're waiting for a solution to kick you'll hit a lot of road blocks.
The biggest of the obstacles is the actual preparation of your meals. It's hard to put together a meal when you know your child won't want to eat some of the things you're serving. You'll find yourself second guessing various steps in meal preparation, the ingredients you put into the food, and the side dishes you plan to offer.
The hardest part of this is having already experienced difficult arguments over eating certain things, and then having to wrestle with the knowledge that you are about to set up another possibility for such a blow up.
All the while, you don't want your child to go hungry. You have to therefore find a balance between foods you want them to eat and foods you know they will eat. If you only serve the easy foods, they'll never get over picky eating. In most cases, they'll also end up with a very unhealthy diet.
That said, if you only serve them foods they won't eat, they definitely won't be healthy. The difficulty is finding foods they will eat, ways to add variety to it, and ways to balance it so that they may try the new foods as well.
When out to cure your picky eater, you'll likely be exposed to many of the parenting no-nos that exist. These have to do with punishing children for not eating their food, or rewarding them for eating their food. Knowing you are supposed to avoid those types of responses is one thing, but actually getting through things without resorting to reward and punishment is another. Be aware that this will be a challenge, but one that's very worth meeting.
Not all children are alike either, as you surely know. They aren't all picky eaters for the same reasons. Some have underdeveloped taste buds, others are simply afraid of new foods, and some just remember not liking it once and therefore won't try it again.
When your initial attempts to cure the picky eating don't work, you're going to want to try new things. Finding the right things without first understanding the cause can be a nightmare. Figuring out the underlying cause, though, can also be a nightmare.
Getting by these obstacles won't be easy, otherwise they wouldn't be obstacles. Still, you need to do your best to get past them. Your future sanity as a parent and your child's future health, both depend on it.
To help you through it, try to find other parents who have similar problems and try to work through it all together.
Parents Often Make Mistakes When Trying to Cure Picky Eaters
With all the advice given by other parents and in parenting literature, parents think they have a handle on how to put an end to picky eating habits their children have.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there. Sometimes this is due to misunderstandings, and other times it's due to bad assumptions.
Most of the time it just results from people doing things the way their parents did them, never considering that there may be a problem with the approach.
The most common approach parents take in trying to cure picky eating is by giving rewards. You know how this works. It's when the child is promised ice cream if they eat their broccoli, or they're promised an extra half hour of TV if they finish their soup.
In the long run this can backfire, if it even works at all. It backfires because it conditions them to eat the right foods only when there are extrinsic motivations. It may not even work because, if they really believe they don't like the food, no amount of ice cream will sway them from their decision.
On the flipside of that, punishing doesn't work either. There are many reasons why punishing is the wrong route to take when trying to put an end to picky eating, but the bottom line is that not eating a food shouldn't be a punishable offense.
You need to consider the fact that your child may really just not like the food, and punishing them will just make them revolt with actions that really are punishable.
Still, punishments are dished out for this. Often the punishments result from another common mistake parents make with this problem. That is that they assume their child is being disobedient.
On the contrary, picky eaters usually feel really bad about not eating certain foods. They feel bad because it upsets their parents, because they don't end up eating enough, and because they simply feel they are doing something wrong.
When thinking about why they are a picky eater in the first place can do every parent some good. Some find that the cause of picky eating has to do with the way they make the food and the types of foods they make.
If the child is willing to eat the food when served separately, but not when mixed together in a complicated dish, then the issue isn't pickiness so much as unfamiliarity. In these cases, the parents should simply make an effort to not serve complicated meals for a while.
Avoiding some of the more common mistakes can be hard, especially when it comes to reward and punishment.
If you have patients though, and are willing to give it time, you'll find that it really isn't that hard after all. As you get frustrated, and you likely will, do your best to avoid all the common parent catch-phrases like "Eat it because I told you to." Instead, opt for explaining yourself, the reasons why certain foods are important, and why you want them to eat them.
After a while you will have cured your picky eater, and hopefully will be able to forget that this was ever a problem.
Picky Eating is Often Considered to Be a Disorder
If you have a child that refuses to eat a wide variety of foods, you're likely quite frustrated.
You are also likely looking to find a way to cure them of the problem.
To do this you must first understand what the problem actually is, which isn't necessarily easy.
Sometimes the problem is as simple as stubbornness on the part of the child, but other times picky eating is a bit deeper rooted than that.
Some psychologists, child therapists and dietitians are trying to spread the word that picky eaters are often suffering from a disorder and aren't simply picking and choosing what they do and do not want to eat. They say that it's rarely diagnosed condition.
The reason people fail to diagnose it as such is because children, and even adults, who are picky eaters don't necessarily have weight issues and don't have habits of not eating at all. Because they at least eat some foods, means doctors and parents consider it to be nothing more than, well, pickiness.
It doesn't help matters that doctors don't ask much about children's diets during routine checkups. They look for current signs of health and nothing more. The blood pressure is fine, the weight is fine, and therefore everything is fine. Should they consider the diet, they will see that many children have a problem with picky eating that can actually spring into a full health issue as they get older.
Like many other conditions children often face, picky eating can be considered a pathology. For whatever reason, they develop a distaste for trying new things, or a distaste for foods they have tried, even when there are no underlying reasons to dislike it. In that way picky eating is like a phobia. It's an irrational distaste for trying certain foods.
This makes sense when you think about many of the things some children will and will not eat. For instance, they'll eat French fries but not potatoes. They'll eat tomato sauce but not tomatoes. The list goes on with contradictions. What it tells us is that the taste isn't really the problem, but it is instead, how they perceive the specific style of serving the food.
The condition of picky eating can be spotted as early as birth; however, it can also appear several years afterward. As a toddler, when a child realizes he or she has more say in what they do or don't do, picky eating tends to show itself more. This is the time when it needs to be identified and halted. Doing so will help them be healthy as children, and live better lives as adults.
Should you notice picky eating trends in your child, the best thing to do is try to cure it on your own. There are many proven methods for encouraging a child to eat new foods and get them out of the habit of shoving certain things aside.
If these methods don't work, it's time you go to your doctor and demand a referral to a professional who specializes in this type of disorder. You and your child will both be better for it.
Cure a Picky Eater By Preparing Meals the Right Way
Preparing food for a picky eater can be a real pain.
That's just one of the reasons why you want to get your child to a point where they are willing to eat more foods.
This will never be a quick process, and so you have to be ready to invest some time into the matter.
If you're ready and willing, the best thing to do is start preparing meals in certain ways that will encourage them to eat the foods you want them to eat. For a while this means meal time will be even harder for you, but once you cure your picky eater, things will be much easier.
The first thing to do when preparing meals is to remember that you're in charge. You want to take steps to help your child eat better, but you don't want to bend to their will. Don't be afraid to make the types of foods you want, and don't get suckered in to making only the foods they want. What you need to be willing to do is alter the way you go about making the foods.
You can start by getting your child involved in the food making process. This can happen as early on as when you buy the foods to begin with.
Many parents bring their kids grocery shopping anyway, and if you do this, then why not let them help you choose what goes in the cart?
This doesn't mean giving them free reign over their diet, it just means steering them in certain ways.
"Do you want this one, or this one...?"
Before dinner, you should also invite your picky eater to help make the meal. This goes beyond getting your child to help set the table, and instead gets them up at the counter stirring things and throwing ingredients into the pot. You'll find that this slows the cooking process, sure, but you'll also find that you child is more willing to eat what they've made.
Even with your child helping, you should aim to create dishes that are simple. Don't make complicated meals where they'll have to ask what's in it. Make the chicken look like chicken they are familiar with.
The same goes for anything else that goes on their plates. A lot of picky eaters are the way they are, because they are afraid of what they don't recognize.
Small portions, when it comes to the foods they claim to not like, is a good idea as well. Don't scare them by piling up the broccoli, or pouring on the sauce they've been nervous about trying. This keeps them from getting overwhelmed and makes it more likely that they'll at least nibble on the new food.
You'll find that preparing your meals like this, with the intent of curing the picky eater, will be the quickest way to steer them towards the diet you feel is best. They'll be healthier and you'll be happier, so long as you're willing to work at it and wait for the results to kick in.
The patience and perseverance you put into it now, can save you and your child a lifetime of grief.
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