As a parent, does feeding your child ever feel like a Herculean task? If the tantrums of your fussy eaters have ever made you rip your hair apart, then raise your hand because Hummingbird Early Age Centre has come to rescue you and help you deal with the little fussy eaters in your house. Their uniquely designed, age-appropriate activities focus on children’s well-being, premium education, and parental partnership. Here are their top tips to support your fussy eaters:
1.Never Force Feed:
Research shows that force-feeding can disrupt a child’s development, leading to acute malnutrition or obesity, and ultimately poor self-regulation when it comes to food consumption later in life.
2.Never Criticize any Food Item:
Kids are extremely observant. If they ever see you or any of the family members criticizing a certain food item, they tend to imitate it. As a parent, you might be intolerant to some veggies, dairy products, or nuts. But there is no need to pass it on to your kids. Learn to respect every food item and understand your child’s likes and preferences for that food.
3.Make Eating a Playful Activity!
Eating should not be a mundane task! When you talk about eating, make it sound exciting. Introduce food items that have various vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates, etc. For example, if you are feeding them rice, tell them it is carbs and the benefits of carbs. If they are eating eggs, tell them what proteins they are getting and the benefits they will get for their different body parts.
4.Involvement of Children:
Cooking is an important life skill. So, it would be helpful to involve your little one right from planning their menu to preparing the meal. Give them a few healthy options and let them make a choice. Remember to plan a wholesome meal that includes all the essential vitamins. You can take them along with you to a supermarket and let them pick their veggies, fruits, nuts, dairy products, and more. Also, get them involved in sorting, washing, cleaning, basic chopping, or even cracking and beating eggs.
5.Food Presentation Matters:
Things that please the eye are the most attractive in the world, and so is the case with food presentation. It’s not merely about cooking the food, but also how you plate it. It should be appealing to the eyes to find its way to the tummy. Be artistic in presenting the food on the plate. You may use your creativity to make various food designs, shapes, and much more.
6.Attractive Crockery & Cutlery:
Use child-friendly attractive crockery & cutlery to serve and feed the food. It could either be plates and mugs with attractive colors or ones with their favorite cartoon characters.
7.Introducing Natural Colorful Foods:
As kids start learning about different colors, introduce these colors in the form of food. For example, if you want to make them eat their greens, then spinach, broccoli, or capsicum are the options. It’s a bit difficult to make them eat this at times by merely chopping and feeding like the old school. So, either puree it or smash it to make a dish.
8.Appreciation and Brownie Points:
On completion of their full meal, shower some praise on them. That will positively reinforce them. You can draw a small star on their hand or stick it in their book for every meal they finish as a brownie point. At the end of the week, count the number of stars collected and give them a small treat.
9.Make Healthy Food their Comfort Food:
Remember, at the end of the day, they should not turn to junk food for comfort food. Hence, make healthy eating their comfort food. Keep healthy snacks handy and some quick healthy recipes too, for their hunger pangs.
10.Set Dining Table Rules:
The most important rule that every family should set is no talking while eating and no screen time either. This should also include a scheduled mealtime to be followed daily.
I hope the above tips help you in dealing with your fussy eaters. Hummingbird Early Age Centre conducts various such activities for kids and their parents. Situated in DIFC, Hummingbird Early Age Centre is recognized as the leading center for Early Years Education and Development in the UAE and is home to a team of highly qualified and experienced childcare professionals who are fully committed to providing outstanding levels of care and education for children between 3 months and 6 years old. Hummingbird is accredited by the UK’s Pre-School Learning Alliance for meeting the highest standards in teaching, care, and delivery of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) curriculum.