1. Understand that it is normal

If you are worried about your child being a fussy eater and are struggling to get them to try new foods, take a deep breath, and try to relax. This is normal, don’t worry. Take your foot off the gas, slow down, and take a break from this for a while. Accept your child’s food preferences. Come back to trying to introduce new foods in a couple of week’s time when you are feeling calmer. Stress and anxiety at mealtimes are not going to improve your child’s eating habits, and will probably make things worse. Phases of food refusal or fussy eating are very normal throughout the early years and childhood. So just try to relax, and let your child enjoy eating.

mum and daughter buying ice cream sharing a loving look for Nurture Collective Blog

2. Set an example

Be a good role model. Eat with your child often, and set a good example by eating a wide variety of fresh, healthy, flavoursome foods. Enjoy your food! Don’t pressure your child to try what you are eating (unless they specifically ask for a taste!).

mum and daughter eating watermelon together sharing a happy moment for Nurture Collective Blog

3. Involve your Child

Get your child involved with shopping for food, choosing food, preparing food, serving food, displaying food on the table, and even growing food in the garden or on the window sill. Let them touch, smell, and explore food with their senses. Even if they aren’t ready to eat it yet!

Parents cooking together mum holding the baby and letting the baby test the food from a pan in the kitchen for Nurture Collective blog

4. Re-Introduction of Rejected Food

Lucky number 13. For babies and toddlers, you may have to introduce a new food up to 13 times before your child accepts it, or even puts it in their mouth. Try not to stress about this, and freeze tiny portions to minimize waste. For older children, you can reintroduce a rejected food after 3 to 6 months, and then again periodically (never give up on a particular food, and explain this to your child – they may not like it now, but they might do when they are older). Next time, try preparing and serving the food in a totally different way. Don’t be surprised if in a few years’ time your child returns from a friend’s house and announces that they now like a portion of food that they have previously refused to touch!

mum feeding her baby weaning food in a highchair for Nurture Collective blog

5. Acceptance

Accept your child’s food preferences, and respect the fact that just like adults, children will have their own tastes, and will prefer some foods to others, and will find certain textures and flavours totally unpalatable. How many groups of adults do you know who all like exactly the same foods, and who all have the same dietary requirements? Children are little individuals too!

mum and son eating breakfast together sharing a happy moment for Nurture Collective blog

Imogen Champion a Parenting Coach and Collaborating with Nurture Collective

Written by, Isobel Champion

Formerly a top London nanny, Isobel specializes in creating a calming environment for both parent and child. Having spent over a decade working with children and their families in London, she is a specialist in creating strategies and solutions for struggling parents, challenging behaviour, and developmental hurdles. Visit her website to know more!

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