Picky Eating Chronicles – My #1 Tip for Parents of Picky Eaters

One morning this spring as my son was getting ready for school, I noticed that his hair was wet.  I asked him why and he told me “I had something in it, so Grandma washed it out.”  It was only later that I heard the full story from my mom.  She had gone into the bathroom to shower and found Tyler in there just about ready to cut something “sticky, like a gumdrop” out of his hair (that would have been bad, considering his last cut-my-own-hair incident hasn’t fully grown out yet).  Any guesses on what that sticky thing was?  A fiber gummy vitamin – one he must have hidden in his bed instead of eating it as he told me he had.  *sigh*

That is just the latest in what has been our ongoing battle with our kids’ picky eating habits and our quest to get them to ingest something even partially close to the nutrients they need every day.  I know I’m not alone in this – plenty of children have eating issues of one sort or another and there are a lot of parents out there dealing with their own children’s eating habits with varying degrees of success (and frustration).  It has been a topic of conversation with my friends, family, and other parents many many times.  I have often been tempted to start writing a “Picky Eating Chronicles” series and with our latest brilliant idea (more on that soon!) being put into action this week, it seems like it would be a good time to put pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard) and share what I have learned so far.

Picky Eating #1 Tip for Parents of Picky Eaters

My oldest is 11, and my son is 8.  Both of them started out as fairly good eaters, but right around the time the independence and the Terrible Twos kicked in, so did the picky eating.  I had hoped it was a phase, but it wasn’t.  So I’ve been dealing with this for a number of years at this point, going through cycles of “working on it,” ignoring it or being too busy with other things to think about it much, periods of complete frustration, and more recently, possible food-related health issues for my son (constipation, according to a military doc at the base in NC – whose diagnosis I’m still not fully confidant in).  Over the years I’ve done a lot of reading and research, talked to other parents, and tried a whole lot of different techniques and recipes and ideas and even developed a few of my own.  I will get to most of those in future posts, but my biggest and best tip for parents of picky eaters everywhere is this:

Stay positive and don’t take it personally.

What?  You think I have some sort of magic trick that will turn your child into one that eats all his broccoli overnight?😉  Naw, that’s not how life works.  But the one thing I do know to be true in life is that our attitude and our expectations are the biggest influence on our happiness and success in every aspect of our lives.  The second you let your child’s appetite (or lack thereof) upset you, you lose.  Dinner can go from a pleasant family event to a battle of wills in no time at all.  Don’t let that happen.  That perfect meal that you spent an hour preparing and were SO convinced your child would love only to find you couldn’t even talk him into taking a single bite? And this was after he pinkie promised that he absolutely WOULD try three bites, even if it didn’t look like he thought it would look?  Or the time you make his absolute favorite thing for lunch (you know the one he requested 3 times in a row last week) only to be informed that he’s “sick of it.”  Or maybe you just spent $6 at a restaurant for a kids’ meal that didn’t get touched at all (because the cheese in the grilled cheese was white instead of yellow?!) and you find yourself swearing you are never going to eat out again.  Believe me, getting upset about it is just not worth it.  Instead of flying off the handle, yelling, making threats, or pulling your hair out remind yourself it’s not you and it’s not the food, your kid is just a little quirky (and stubborn, er opinionated) and that’s ok.

Smile.  Hug him.  And try again tomorrow.

Because you know you love that little bundle of attitude and stubbornness more than life itself and he needs a calm, happy mother (or father) much more than he needs a stomach full of brussels sprouts.

Linking to:  Snickerdoodle Sunday, Merry Monday, Blog Hobnob Link Up, Sundays Down Under, Tutorials and Tips Link Party, Something To Talk About, Idea Box, Made By You Monday, Lou Lou Girls, Pin Me Link Party, Pretty Pintastic Party, BFF Open House, Frugal Friday, Lifestyle Link Up,

19 thoughts on “Picky Eating Chronicles – My #1 Tip for Parents of Picky Eaters

  1. Steph says:

    I was really hoping you had a magic over night answer! Dinner has become one of the most anticipated times of day for all the wrong reasons in my house. Deep breaths and try again, we will! Thanks for your thoughts on this one!

    Like

    • alaynascreations says:

      That’s what I hate – dinner should be something to look forward to, not dread. I’m still trying to figure it out, but we have made a lot of progress particularly with my 11 year old. I will be writing up some more tips and tricks in the subject soon.
      Thanks for stopping by!

      Like

  2. Becky, Cuddle Fairy says:

    My daughter is going through a super fussy phase now – she says “yuck” to everything, even foods she’s always eaten. You are right, don’t take it personally & try again tomorrow. #ideaboxlinkyparty x

    Like

  3. Shann Eva says:

    My boys are all so picky now too. They used to be such good eaters, then BAM. Just like you said….terrible twos into threes and we’re done with the good eating. So frustrating, but I know they will eventually grow out of this phase too.

    Like

    • alaynascreations says:

      Glad to know it wasn’t just my kids😉 Mine grew out of it a little bit, but we’ve also been working on it with varying degrees of success over the years. I’m happy to say we can now take my daughter (she’s 11) out to almost any restaurant and can usually find something she will eat. So I have high hopes for my little guy, maybe. Teenage boys are supposed to eat anything right?

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  4. Amanda @ Momily Homily says:

    As much as I want him to, my little boy is not going to like green beans. But you know, there are foods that I don’t like either. As long as he gives food a try, I’ve decided not to get upset if he doesn’t like something. It’s not worth the frustration and the disharmony in our family.
    Great to be co-hosting the #homemattersparty with you again this month.

    Like

  5. Sarena @ Teal Inspiration says:

    Lol, I don’t have kids but both my brother and I were extremely picky eaters growing up. (And still are to be perfectly honest.) Your advice is very good though, for any tough situation. “Stay positive and don’t take it personally.” I need to remember that when I get too stressed out about things in my life. Thanks for sharing and I’m glad to be co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty with you again this month!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Jane @ SustainMyCraftHabit says:

    You just reminded me of a few weeks ago when my 3-year old refused to try something I knew she liked. “It looks yucky… I don’t like it… What is thaaaat?” until I managed to get a bit on her lips. Then all of a sudden “mmmm, that’s good”. We just couldn’t help but laugh.

    It’s been another great week co-hosting the #HomeMattersParty with you!

    Like

    • alaynascreations says:

      How funny! At least she changed her mind. Often when we talk my little guy into trying something new you can tell the times he makes up his mind ahead of time to hate it then even after a couple of bites he won’t even think about liking it.
      I’m having fun co-hosting the #HomeMattersparty too!

      Like

  7. Erin @ the-organized-life says:

    I think most kiddos struggle with food during ages 2 and 3, but I’ve got an 8 year old that is super picky. He recently outgrew some severe food allergies, and because he had never had certain flavors growing up, he doesn’t like them. I decided to implement something we do at my work (I work with Eating Disorders). I allow each of my children to choose 2 “dislikes” and if we are having one of those items for a meal, they can have an alternative (I choose the alternative). This gives allows them to have a say in their food preferences, but limits the amount of dislikes they can have. If their dislikes aren’t a part of the meal, they need to eat what we’re having. Last night my 8 year old did not want what we were having for dinner, but it didn’t include his dislikes so that was his only choice. He ended up eating 3 helpings. Sometimes I think kids think they don’t like stuff based on appearance, but once they actually try it, they realize it’s not so bad.

    Like

  8. Erin @ the-organized-life says:

    I think most kiddos struggle with food during ages 2 and 3, but I’ve got an 8 year old that is super picky. He recently outgrew some severe food allergies, and because he had never had certain flavors growing up, he doesn’t like them. I decided to implement something we do at my work (I work with Eating Disorders). I allow each of my children to choose 2 “dislikes” and if we are having one of those items for a meal, they can have an alternative (I choose the alternative). This allows them to have a say in their food preferences, but limits the amount of dislikes they can have. If their dislikes aren’t a part of the meal, they need to eat what we’re having. Last night my 8 year old did not want what we were having for dinner, but it didn’t include his dislikes so that was his only choice. He ended up eating 3 helpings. Sometimes I think kids think they don’t like stuff based on appearance, but once they actually try it, they realize it’s not so bad.

    Like

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