If you want to keep your child from turning into a picky eater, you’ll need to watch what you do. Too many parents make the same mistakes to accommodate a picky child without knowing that they’re fueling the fire. Here are the most common mistakes parents make and how you can avoid them so your child can grow into a person with good, healthy eating habits.
Don’t serve baby food for too long
Pureed baby food is merely to be a phase that bridges the gap from breastfeeding or formula feeding into the world of food. Don’t worry if your child doesn’t have teeth yet. Babies learn to chew by mashing things up with their gums. Obviously giving your son a burger isn’t a smart move, but giving him small soft chunks of sweet potatoes is. Once your child is around 10 months in age, you should move away from puree and into small, soft chunks of food.
Too many snacks
Stop falling into the snack trap. Snacks can buy you quiet time when you need it or save you from enduring a meltdown at the supermarket but when you give too many snacks, you’re setting them up for failure at meals because they’re not going to be hungry. If you must give snacks, try to ensure they are fruits or vegetables. That way if they aren’t hungry at meal time, they are at least getting proper nutrition.
Acting as a short order cook
Don’t make separate meals for your child unless your child has a special dietary need or you’ve made something that’s too spicy for a child’s palate. If you serve them what they want all the time, they will demand it all the time. Pizza and chicken nuggets are great sometimes, but you want your child to experience other foods. She will not starve to death if she refuses your food. She will learn to try new things and she will eat when she is hungry.
Let your child feed himself
Babies are going to need help eating, but when he starts handling his utensils by himself, let him be. He’ll make a big mess and will often sit there for a long time, but it’s necessary in order for him to learn how to self-feed. If the mess bothers you, try laying a sheet of plastic under his high chair before the meal begins or serve him in an area that’s easy to clean up. When he masters the art of eating himself, there will be no stopping him. If you feed him yourself when he’s capable of doing it on his own, he will become too dependent on you for eating as well as other things in his life.