At Monkey Puzzle West Norwood, we encourage children to have a varied diet with healthy snacks and meals. Children are picky eaters and parents will experience periods when they refuse certain foods. This can be a concerning time for Mums and Dads but we’d like to let you know that fussy eating is very common and there are a number of approaches that can ease these phases.
Children are unlikely to cause harm to their health if they don’t eat enough for a short time. If the problem continues, seek advice from a healthcare professional.
We do not fret and fuss if a child refuses to eat but we do encourage a healthy diet and eating habits. Children will always be offered a small portion of pudding, unless parents have asked that their child only have dessert if they have eaten their main meal.
Reasons for fussy eating in children:
- Showing a sign of independence
- Demand for attention
- After an illness or infection
Here is some guidance and suggestions of how to improve mealtimes and fussy eating:
- Offer small portions at meal times. If these are finished more can be offered.
- Keep meal time away from television, gadgets, music and toys.
- Eat the same meals with your child. Watching a parent eat and enjoy a wide variety of foods, will encourage them to try new foods.
- Sit at a table for main meals.
- Keep meal times to around 30 minutes.
- Ensure meal time is a period to speak and engage with one another.
- Involve your child in the selection, preparation and cooking of their meals.
- Leave at least 2 hours between snacks and meals.
- Offer a new food with a familiar food or in a different way e.g. chopped, mashed, roasted.
- If your child refuses a food at first, leave it a few days and try again – it may take 17–20 times before new food is accepted.