DEVELOPING GOOD EATING HABITS
Do not push or pressure. Decide what food is going to be around. Do not make this a battle of wills; you want the child to be making these decisions
Children will decide how much food they will eat, serve small portions to the plate
A lot of exposure to the food
Be patient and work toward the goal of developing a good relationship with a variety of food
10 - 15 Times
It can take between 10 to 15 times for a child to like eating a new food. If the food is rejected at first, ITS OK, keep inviting it to the plate in small portions without pressure. Daily exposure is important.
Tasting can be the step toward eating. Offering a non-food related praise for trying a taste and remain neutral if they choose not to try it.
Describe Sensory Qualities
Language always shapes life long attitudes and behavior, including eating behavior. Anyone who interact regularly at meal time with children should be aware of the message they are sending about food.
Young children are very sensory oriented, so describing food in sensory ways encourages interest.
Here are a few great phrases:
- This is kiwi fruit; it’s sweet like a strawberry.
- These radishes are very crunchy!
- This soup is creamy.
30 Minutes at most
It is not a realistic expectation to require a young child (18 - 24 months) to sit at a table for more than 30 minutes. Start with shorter expectations like 5 minutes, and then increase from there.
Remember, always align your expectations with what is developmentally appropriate for your child's age. At this age your child is also learning about control and independence; understanding how to support these goals are important too.