Our top tips for
surviving the fussy phase
I remember chatting with a friend a few years ago. She likened feeding her toddler to psychological warfare. She set the scene of her and her 3-year-old son eyeballing each other as they unblinkingly passed a cherry tomato back and forth across the table. She lost the battle (daily) but eventually won the war. One day she gave her son a cherry tomato and he just popped it into his mouth and that was that.
You can’t help but laugh, as it’s every parent’s story, and it almost makes you wonder if fussiness is some form of rite of passage for toddlers. Children decide to turn away food for reasons that span from the sublime to the ridiculous – like the cucumber touching the carrot, or that you used the yellow plate and not the green plate (apart from Tuesdays as then it’s the other way around). It can be frustrating, amusing and bewildering at the same time. It can also be stressful, especially if the behaviour persists for a prolonged period and you become unsure if your children are getting enough nutrients. Teaching your children to appreciate and enjoy wholesome food is arguably one of the most important jobs you as a parent have when preparing them for a healthy future.
Here are our seven tips to help you navigate through the fussy stage.
1. Start by making it easier for yourself
2. Find a Common Goal
3. Set it straight
Set clear rules around mealtimes and stick to them. Such as:
1. No snacks for an hour before mealtime. If they complain they are hungry we can explain that it is ok to feel a bit hungry before a meal.
2. There is no alternative. That is their dinner, and if they won’t eat it, that is fine but there is nothing else (we don’t want to force foods and risk negative associations).