Question from Sarah: How do I get my kids to eat more than just one or two parts of the meal?

Nov 25, 2013 by

DEAR ANNA: “Let’s say we put out a roast chicken with cauliflower, sliced raw cucumbers and home-made biscuits. I have one child out of my three that will only eat the meat, another that will only eat the biscuit, and my third that will only eat the vegetables and the biscuit. We don’t pressure them or bribe them with dessert. (true “dessert” only happens when we bake something together or if watermelon is in season). But even when their only option is home made food do I let them take the only kind they want? They are hungry (it’s been hours since after-school snack) but they could still just fill up on one thing for days!”

DEAR SARAH: I love your question! Thanks for asking me. I have a few different thoughts about ways you could address this imbalance in what your kids want to eat. Whatever you do, I…

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The Distracted Child: When That’s a Useful Thing

Aug 15, 2013 by

Anger-free ways to keep the peace & neutralize resistance in a picky eater or other strong-willed child

The other day, I noticed a dad with his toddler on a sidewalk. The little tot, about 18 months old, was trying to go in one direction. The dad, towering over her, was looking down at her and moving right in front of her each time she tried to go that direction. She would move to go around him, and he would step over to block her way, over and over. No words were being exchanged. She had no understanding of why her dad was preventing her from going that way. Dad was making no effort to explain the situation to her. His mind seemed to be elsewhere. Naturally, the little girl was getting a seriously frustrated look on her face. Maybe she was too young to understand why she couldn’t go there,…

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How to Stumble Over the Cure to Picky Eating on the Road to Duty

Aug 1, 2013 by

“Happiness is not found by looking for it. You stumble over happiness on the road to duty.” — Dr. Bob Jones Sr.

If your child is a picky eater, you are looking for the cure. You are probably working hard to get him to eat more of the things you want him to eat. You are probably talking about it a good bit at mealtimes. You are probably offering your child incentives to eat. You may dread mealtimes. You no doubt worry a lot about your child’s eating. You might be changing what foods you offer in response to your child’s pickiness. You’re doing all you know to do. You are looking for happiness.

The problem is, and you’ve probably noticed it, that pressuring your child to eat isn’t solving the problem. It’s not that you don’t care or aren’t trying, but working hard at solving the problem is getting you…

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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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The World’s Simplest Solution to Picky Eating: Freedom Within Limits

Jun 26, 2012 by

The other day a man was telling me how one of his kids had been a picky eater.

As I always do, I asked him what he did about it.

“We’d sit there with him and tell him he had to eat certain amounts of the various things on the table. We’d sit there and insist until he did it,” he told me.

A typical strategy, I thought. And a counter-productive one.

Then he added, with a note of curiosity: “We noticed, though, that if we actually left the room for awhile he would eat.”

I wasn’t surprised by those results. Just another proof of the Push-Pull Principle.

Nobody likes to be pressured and forced to eat something they don’t want to eat….

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Simple Strategy to Avoid Food Battles: Create a Diversion

Apr 27, 2012 by

Your child bangs her cup on the table and glares. Or she yells, “I hate beets!” and grabs a handful and rears back for a pitch. Or she may simply say, “Yuck! I’m not eating that!” to your sumptuous dinner.

What next?

Wouldn’t you do almost anything to have a little peace at the dinner table?

At such moments, wouldn’t it be great to have a way to keep a child on track without the usual yelling, threats, arguments, lectures, punishments—all with limited effectiveness? Wouldn’t you like to be able to have a meal without misery (your child’s or yours)? Do you need a path to resolving conflicts of will where nothing’s broken, no one’s screaming and no food is thrown on the floor? Are you sick of meeting headstrong resistance head on and getting nowhere?

The good news is that nothing extreme is called for. The solution may be very simple.

How to…

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