Kids and self-esteem: What to do when your child is a picky eater

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Lots of parents go through picky eating with their children and it is often just a phase.

Children like things to be familiar and often won’t try new foods until they’ve been exposed to them several times.  In fact, it sometimes takes 11 times for your child to have a food before they have a go.

Toddlers pick up on your vibes, so if you become anxious around food your child does too, but staying calm, positive and relaxed is often all it takes to survive it!

Many parents I coach worry that their children aren’t getting the nutrients they need and react by coaxing, bribing, and disguising food, but this often makes the problem worse.

Tips to get your child’s diet back on track

  • Provide a variety of healthy foods at each meal.
  • When you offer a new food, simply place it on the table and don’t make a fuss about it.
  • Offer one or two new foods at a time in small quantities so they don’t feel overwhelmed.
  • Let your child be involved in some food decisions.  They will be more likely to eat something they’ve chosen.
  • Add new things S-L-O-W-L-Y.  Take a basic food they love and add new things to it bit by bit.
  • Chop things up really small as little fingers love exploring.
  • Hide goodness and vegetables in sauces.
  • Leave a bowl of colorful fruit in a place where hungry children can help themselves.
  • Change your mealtimes to later so your child is hungrier.
  • Cut out snacks and sweets in between meals.
  • Think of their food intake over a week rather than a day as it’s probably better than you think.

Remember some children’s palates are more sensitive than others and they simply don’t like the texture, color, or taste.  Others may have an aversion to a food because it reminds them of a time they were sick, in which case, stop offering it for a while and try again when they’re a little older.

Did you know that the Reading Kingdom reading programs for kids is scientifically designed to boost children’s self-esteem and will to learn? Sign up for a 30 day free trial today.

“Within eight weeks of beginning the Reading Kingdom, Ben’s progress was enormous. Each day that we continue the programs, he improves. It has also boosted his self-esteem. “– Gail Weiner, parent

For more about kids and self-esteem, see our activities for kids page.