Dinner Table Showdown: Hunger Games with Picky Eaters

Jun 23, 2012 by

Beth, mom of an eight-year-old and a six-year-old, wrote me with the suggestion that maybe moms of picky kids should simply offer them a “healthy” alternative, like pasta, whenever they don’t want what’s served. Good idea, right?

“I don’t want them to have to eat things they seriously don’t care for,” she said, noting that her kids don’t have medical, developmental or sensory processing issues or other such real problems. They just aren’t crazy about certain textures. Or probably, they just would rather have pasta than what’s served sometimes.

Thus far, I agree that no one should have to eat anything against his will.

“That being said,” Beth admits, “it upsets me that I have to make separate meals for them. It means we eat at different times and eat different things. 

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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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The Little Miracle of ‘Family Style’ Meals: How It Helps Kids be Less Picky

Apr 5, 2012 by

“I know I should serve them family style, and usually I do,” Debra, a mom of a picky eater, told me when I visited her house on a Supper Nanny visit.  “But since this is something new tonight I knew they wouldn’t want to eat it, so I plated it up.”

Debra was talking about using serving dishes and passing them around for kids to dish up their own food, “family  style,” versus placing filled plates in front of each child.

Hmmmmm. When kids might not want to eat is exactly the time NOT to plate it up, I thought to myself.

I was at Debra’s house for the second time to help her figure out what she could do to get picky Jonathan to eat something beyond the ten meals she was cooking. This serving of filled plates was one of the…

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Emerson and the Calf, or One Good Reason Kids Refuse to Eat

Mar 16, 2012 by

One day,  Ralph Waldo Emerson  and his son, Edward, needed a calf to go in the barn. So the elder Emerson, the great Transcendentalist writer and philosopher, pushed on the calf’s backside while his son grabbed the animal’s head and pulled from the front. They pushed and pulled with all their strength, but the calf resisted with all of his might, over and over.

“How to get this calf into the barn?” Emerson wondered, with his deep, philosophical mind.  He thought about all the advice he could think of from his wide reading. He pondered his own ideals of self-reliance, muttering to himself his famous injunction to “trust thyself,” but could produce no insight on the subject.  He was stuck.

Just…

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Parenting's no longer fun: bringing up bébé to be picky AND tiresome

Mar 11, 2012 by

American moms find being around their own children twice as disagreeable as French mothers do, research shows.

We Americans would rather do housework than tend our own little darlings, according to Pamela Druckerman, in her recent Wall Street Journal article “Why French Parents are Superior.”  Druckerman is also the author of the just-out Bringing up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.

To rub more salt in our American parenting misery, I will add that just because we are self-sacrificially wretched for the sake of our children is no guarantee we’re doing a good job as parents. It may mean just the opposite.

We American…

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Is your child a picky eater or a problem feeder?

Mar 8, 2012 by

Could your child benefit from professional therapy to solve her eating problems?  Did you know such therapy exists? Some children are just picky, but others have more serious problems that can be related to physical development or medical issues.  These problems can be addressed through special pediatric therapy.

Toomey & Associates of the SOS Approach to Feeding (Sequential-Oral-Sensory) provides these signs that your child’s problems are bigger than just pickiness:

Red Flags

  • Eats less than 20 foods, especially if she stops eating certain foods and never accepts them again
  • Not gaining normal weight
  • Choking, gagging or coughing during meals
  • Vomiting
  • Nasal reflux
  • History of traumatic choking
  • History of problems coordinating breathing…
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