Dealing with picky eaters can be incredibly frustrating! Get these 4 foolproof tips to keep your patience and sanity. Plus tips for picky eaters!
While I was pregnant with my first child, I, like other expectant mothers, imagined what color hair my baby would have, what his temperament would be like, and how big he would be. I’m sure, unlike other mothers to be, I thought about what kind of eater my son would be. Strange, right? Well, not for me, as a pediatric OT, I had worked with many families dealing with picky eaters and other feeding challenges with their children. Even though I didn’t have children at the time, the stress of those situations was palpable.
I was extremely diligent throughout my son’s first year, as I introduced solids, taught cup drinking, and transitioned him to table foods. As I carefully followed the therapeutic advice I had dispensed to families over the years with my own son, I watched him blossom into a good, hearty eater. I was relieved and happy that the strategies I dolled out worked.
Why is Dealing with Picky Eaters so Hard for Parents?
How to Be Patient when Dealing with Picky Eaters
Now you know my story. Does it sound familiar?
As you read through the last part of my story, there were a few strategies I used to not only be patient, but to stay sane. You can use them in your home, when dealing with picky eaters:
1. Step out of the room BEFORE your child see’s you cry, roll your eyes, or scream into a pillow. Take a few minutes to do whatever will help you calm down. For me, it was letting the tears out when I needed to, saying a prayer, and counting to 10. Taking deep breaths, focusing on something positive, or putting on some relaxing music are other tools you can you use too. Find more tips for patience here.
2. Have a plan for your picky eater! A huge reason I was able to be patient was because I knew what I needed to do for my son. I know that may not be your situation because parents aren’t often told how to help picky eaters, and if they are, it’s a random tip that doesn’t really apply. If you feel you don’t know where to begin, come get a seat in my free workshop: 3 Keys to Turn Around Picky Eating. What you’ll learn there will give you exactly what you need to know to have a picky eating plan of your own.
3. Change your perspective. When our kids don’t eat, we often ask ourselves, “Why are they being so difficult? Why won’t they just eat?” But, if we stop thinking about how difficult our child is and instead think, “My child isn’t being difficult they’re having a difficult time,” it can give us the change in perspective we desperately need to suddenly and immediately have an abundance of patience.
4. Practice. It won’t look perfect. You’ll lose your cool at times, but don’t give up. Go back to the two strategies above and practice again. And, again. If progress is slow, trust that you’re getting somewhere, it’s just taking time. I know that’s easier said than done. This article on “trusting your turtle” is a gem if you need some help on that perspective!
5. Seek out more help if you feel like you aren’t seeing any progress. Some kids do need something extra called feeding therapy, you can read all about it in that link. You may even qualify for a therapist to come right to your home for free if you live in the states and have a child under 3. To find out more details, head to how to get early intervention.
Want More Tips for Picky Eaters?
Boy are you in the right place! I don’t want to overwhelm you, so let me pick my best resources for you, because I’ve got a lot:
- You already know about the free Picky Eating Workshop. That’s a must, sign up here, if you haven’t already!
- Learn how to avoid tantrums at meals and keep a happy environment (so important for keeping your stress level down).
- Check out the plan I used with my son, once I realized we had regressed a bit.
- Get my favorite healthy snack ideas for picky eaters.
- Print out my top 9 tips for picky eaters to start improving their eating today!
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You might need these comforting words again on another day…
Your website is amazing! Wish i’d known about it when my now 3 yr old was a baby and didn’t eat…..her eating style would have been fixed easily using your tips and tricks.
just a bit stuck with my now 11mth old baby who is even worse at eating even tho i made a conscious effort to try start her on the right foot so we didn’t go the same way!
She will put any toy in her mouth and any piece of finger food i give her as long as i’m not holding it but she refuses anything on a spoon and she doesn’t seem to swallow anything. she just chews and then it gets spat out.
she is a very happy placid baby but starting to wake more at night i’m guessing from hunger because she isn’t eating much.
would be very very grateful if you are able to point me to which things will target her eating habits exactly. i’ve found so much awesome stuff i’m not sure which one to use 🙂 lol.
Hey Lorraine, she might be having some oral motor delays that are making it difficult for her to eat or possibly due to sensory sensitivities. I’d recommend getting an evaluation. You can learn about that and some more techniques in this article.