Patio Picnics for Picky Eaters

Apr 23, 2013 by

If you have a picky eater, take her on a picnic. Eating outdoors is just one great way to reduce the pressure and make the dinner table experience more enjoyable, in order to get kids more interested in eating.

For once, improving our lives doesn’t require misery! We need not always increase the pressure or muster up will power, hard work and self-denial. In this case, those are the most counter-productive actions to take.

If you have a picky eater, instead look for ways to create a more pleasant atmosphere at the table. Where pressure and ugliness isn’t getting you anywhere and is probably making the situation worse—not to mention damaging your relationship with your child—a picnic is better at whetting your child’s…

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Dad & the Picky Eater: 4 Steps to Setting Up Kids for Eating Success

Mar 21, 2013 by

Two-year-old Amber knows there’s chocolate cake for dessert. So at dinner, she turns up her nose at the roast chicken and creamed spinach. She’s holding out. So her dad commands her to eat and makes sure she does it. The battle begins. Amber’s secret enjoyment in getting Dad’s goat is even greater than her objection to dinner. It gets ugly, but Dad “wins.” Amber ends up eating the absolute minimum requirement of her dinner, then she gorges on chocolate cake.

“I thought that’s what I was supposed to do: make them eat,” different dads of picky eaters have told me when I suggested otherwise. “I thought I was doing the right thing, just what I ought to do to be a good dad.”

It’s a tough question: Where should we hold the line as parents? When do we let it go? Should we let them eat what they want or make…

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Review of Food Chaining, Part II

Nov 28, 2012 by

Food Chaining: The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet, by Cheri Fraker, et al.

“Children are not pets to be trained.”

— Alfie Kohn in Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

Food Chaining has a lot of great information in it. It offers parents in-depth understanding of the serious reasons some children refuse to eat. It also offers a logical plan to increase the range of foods even the pickiest eaters will eat. It has a great section about teaching kids on the autism spectrum about food. It’s all about figuring out WHY a child is refusing food and understanding what the child needs to improve her eating.

Then, in a section called “Positive Reinforcement at the Table,” the authors advise us to ignore children completely whenever they won’t eat or they misbehave at the table. When…

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Food Chaining: My Review, Part I

Nov 9, 2012 by

 The Proven 6-Step Plan to Stop Picky Eating, Solve Feeding Problems, and Expand Your Child’s Diet.  The Kid-Tested Solution for Stress-Free Mealtimes, by Cheri Fraker, et al.

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Imagine a young mom with clumps of oatmeal clinging to the side of her head. She is staring off into space and resolutely ignoring little Johnny. She winces as he throws handfuls of cereal at her while grinning.

This is the picture I get from page 160-190 of Food Chaining, the section called “Using Positive Reinforcement at the Table.” This part of the book advocates ignoring your child when he does anything you don’t like, from throwing food, spitting out food or crying at the table, to refusing to eat. We are advised to only acknowledge our children when they do what we like. When they do what we like, we should fuss over them, clap and lavish them with praise. Only pay attention…

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Best book ever for picky eaters and their parents: Bread & Jam for Frances

Oct 1, 2012 by

If you are the parent of a picky eater and haven’t read Bread and Jam for Frances, I would rush right out and get a copy.

In the 1964 children’s classic by Russell Hoban, Frances, a little badger, wanders into the picky zone, but only temporarily. How, within two days, she escapes her rut of eating nothing but bread and jam  is an inspiring tale full of lessons for parents and picky human children alike. It’s beautiful, humorous and understated. I get misty-eyed each time I read it.

A Good Example

First off, I love the father badger in the story. Each meal, he sits down and makes a cheerful and positive comment about what’s on the table.

“What a lovely egg!” he says at breakfast. “Now that’s what I call a pretty sight. Fresh orange juice and poached eggs on toast,” he says the next morning.

“What is there nicer on the plate…

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How to use the Push Pull Principle on a food-throwing toddler

Sep 24, 2012 by

My friend Elaine has an adorable 17-month old, Wade. Every meal, Wade always starts throwing food once he’s eaten. As soon as he no longer needs it as food, he turns it into a toy. It’s a normal stage for a baby. A one-year-old discovers that he can throw food and enjoy doing so. But it’s been going on for awhile and Elaine doesn’t know what to do about it. She scolds him, but he doesn’t let that bother him.

I asked her if she took the food away from him when he did it.

“I don’t want to take the food away,” she said, “because I’m afraid he’s not done eating.”

That fear is the crux of the matter and so it continues.

Mom is the only one who’s afraid here. Wade has no concerns at all. He’s in charge and he knows it. He likes throwing food and he likes having…

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