Addressing the Pernicious Problem of Picky Preschool Eaters

Children are just a bastion of possibility, aren’t they? That’s part of the reason that we love them. Your child could grow up to be anything. As such, you always want to teach your child to be discerning. You want to be sure that your child grows up knowing right from wrong and quality from a lack thereof. With “so much on their plate,” as it were, you want your child to have high standards in life – just not so high as to turn down every last thing you try to feed them for breakfast in the morning.

Dealing with picky eaters is a common complaint among parents of preschool aged children the world over. On the one hand, this is perfectly natural. After all, we have evolved to be picky eaters in part for a reason. Shoving just any old thing that looks vaguely edible down your throat is a terrible roadmap to personal as well as species-wide survival. As such, being a picky eater can be a lifesaver – literally. On the other hand, chances are good that you’re not feeding your children some recently-speared animal fresh from the hunt or some wild foliage that you picked up off the ground somewhere. As such, while your child’s bodily defenses against unknown edibles gained from countless generations is still intact, chances are good that they’re not entirely needed against pureed baby food.

Whether you’re sending your kids to preschool in Bangkok or taking care of them at home, how can you get your toddlers not to be maddeningly picky about what they eat?

Don’t Be Too Pushy

While it’s important to be firm and make sure that your kids eat the foods they need to grow and be healthy, you never want to be too pushy when it comes to making kids experience new things. It can be frustrating when you’re ready to head out the door for work, and you just need your toddler to eat their breakfast already, but forcing foods on them can have far more negative consequences. For one thing, being overly forceful with your child over such matters can affect them psychologically. For another, your child might genuinely have an instinctual reason for not wanting to eat a certain food (for example, their being allergic), which they cannot articulate. If your child refuses the same types of foods over and over again for specific reasons (ie, because it makes them “feel itchy” or gives them an upset stomach), it is advisable see a pediatrician.

Not Being Hungry

Assuming that there is no medical reason why your child shouldn’t eat their food, you and the staff at your child’s Bangkok preschool will need to approach food refusals differently.

For example, say your child or the children under your care at your preschool insist on not eating because they aren’t hungry. If you’ve heard this excuse from your child and have been frustrated by it, don’t worry, you’re in good company, as it is an extremely common complaint. It’s also a complaint which can be easily addressed. Most children stop growing as quickly after the age of two, and as such, they may not need round the clock feeding. This can be responsible for their not being hungry. Spacing out meals, therefore, or making snacks lighter so as not to prematurely fill them up can be immensely helpful.

That said, it’s also fair to note that sometimes, children simply aren’t hungry. While children are growing and so need ample food in order to develop properly, as with adults, some children are simply more voracious eaters than others. As such, sometimes, when your children say they’re “not hungry,” they might genuinely mean it. If this persists meal after meal, however, you’ll want to follow the steps below.

A Preference for Sweet Foods

If you haven’t heard your child say that they’re “not hungry,” chances are still pretty good that you have heard them say something’s “yucky” instead. If you’ve heard them describe food after food as “yucky,” you might feel as though the whole thing’s getting on your last nerve. However, never fear – as we mentioned, there are ways to solve this preschool picky eater problem, too.

One of the simplest yet most effective ways of dealing with this problem is by simply “masking” the food in question, at least for a while. For example, say your child absolutely hates carrots. No matter what you do or try, one look at some baby carrots or carrot sticks and they break down or close up completely and refuse to eat. Serving them those same carrots but blended and mixed with something else can be an ingenious way of getting them the same nutrients without the battle over the carrot sticks in question. In addition, you could try having a dip or sweet food available to add to the carrots. There are many nutrition-based reasons that kids tend to love sweeter foods, a fact that you can exploit to dip the offending foods in question in order to get your child to eat them.

A Dinnertime Declaration of Independence

Then there’s the good old-fashioned airing of the Terrible Twos and every toddler’s favorite word, “No!” The natural inclination here might be to shout back “Yes!” – but let’s be honest, your child’s stubbornness might well win out over parental fatigue. That’s what they’re counting on in part. What’s more, bickering not only sets a bad example for your children but can also erode your authority, making your toddler think that you’re malleable to their whims. Another permutation of this can be children saying “No!” not just to be defiant, but rather as a means to an end. If they think “No!” will lead to chocolate cake instead of carrots, of course they’ll give it a go.

Instead of all of that, try to let your children make their own food eating decisions as much as possible. If dinner wears on, and they see that everyone else is eating and they’re not getting anything else, they may yet try that dish in front of them.

All this and more can help give you the tools to solve some of the most pernicious preschool picky eater problems.

At Kidz Village, our daily meals are cooked using fresh ingredients, full of the nutrition that your child needs. Contact us today at 02-888-3337 to arrange your tour.