Dealing With Resistance At Meal Times

The harder you force it, the harder they’ll resist!

When we experience a strong reaction to something we are more likely to remember it. Therefore, if your child presents a negative reaction to the food on offer, don’t force the issue and then you can try again another day.

Being in control or being fussy?

When a child refuses certain foods they are not setting out to be fussy, their aim is to be in control of what happens to them. To some extent, this is to be encouraged for the future! It is never wise to label your child  ’a fussy eater’  unless that is what you would like them to become! If the child only likes biscuits, ice cream and chocolate then you must obviously ignore such preferences but do be aware that sometimes your child will genuinely dislike a food and has the right to refuse!

Offer closed choices.

So, children like to have some control but are not experienced enough to be given such a great responsibility. For obvious reasons, it would be unwise to give a child full control of his or her diet but it is possible to use simple methods to help them feel more in control. Closed choices allow the child to make very low-risk decisions. Instead of asking open questions like, “What would you like for breakfast?” ask them, “Would you like muesli, porridge or cornflakes?” “For dinner would you like spaghetti bolognese or spaghetti carbonara?” This way you give them choice but you are still quietly in control of it.

Set the right mood for food.

Make mealtimes special. It is amoment in the day when the whole family should sit down together around the table and share bonding conversation, eye contact and healthy food. There should be no anti-social distractions allowed – the television is not a member of the family!