Fussy eating · Parenting

Help my child is so fussy

Fussy eating is very common. Extremely fussy eating (often characterised by eating less than 20 foods, not being willing to try new things and often only eating foods which are very similar eg in colour of texture) is less common but still not rare.

There are so many products on the market which claim to help your child with fussy eating but this one had me screaming at the laptop screen when I read about it in a Netmums article

Here’s why.

It breaks the very important portion control rule that children should not be required to finish everything on their plate. It’s essential children learn to listen to their body’s own cues to know when they have had enough

It breaks the first thing I talk about when it comes to fussy eating – control. Children often exhibit signs of fussy eating when they are trying to take control. Giving them control over things they can have control over is really important. This plate is linear, they have to have the first food, then the next. Why can’t they have their 4th food before their 1st food?

It fails to recognise how complex fussy eating is. Some children need to have separate plates for separate foods and that’s ok. Some children have underlying health issues as to why they are fussy.

The size of the plate could be overwhelming for a child. Granted that there are no portion sizes on the plate so you could put one pea in a section, a piece of pasta in another and so on but there is a danger the plate could be massively overloaded which could be overwhelming. It is important children learn to ask for more – to help with portion control but also to give them control over something as basic as what they put in their mouths.

Finally, this breaks the number one rule around children’s food – don’t use it to bribe or reward. If a child hears ‘finish this and you can have this’ research shows they interpret it as ‘endure this so you can have the nice thing’. We don’t want meals to be like this.

You might be thinking at the end of this article, well what do I do now? I have a child who is fussy at the moment and it is causing lots of anxiety and stress, now what? I hear you. I have had many parents talk to me about their experiences (many crying as they do so). I can’t cover all I would in a consultation in this article, that wouldn’t give you the best outcome. I’d be happy to point you in the direction of good quality resources which can help, or book a one to one with you for more tailored support.

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