Wednesday, 6 March 2013

food training for the fussy eater

I'm sure many of you out there have the pleasure of living with a fussy eater!  My son seriously knows how to push all my buttons and get under my skin.  There's nothing I love more that slaving over the stove just to have the whole meal dumped in the bin.  What I am learning as a second time parent is that I have definitely been an enabler in this situation and allowed my son to be fussy.  With my daughter I am so much stricter and it's really been paying off as she is fabulous at meal times.

I am by no means a parenting expert and just wanted to share with you the process that I've been going through these past couple of days.  Luckily one of my close friends has been a nanny for the past 20+ years and is always more than happy to offer me some great parenting tips.  Since I've gotten stricter with my son over the summer his eating habits have really improved but vegetables are still a giant hurdle we can't seem to get past.  Seriously my kid has not eaten a single vegetable since he was 1 years old and the only way I get veg in him is by hiding it in food.  Grated in sauce, pureed in spaghetti bolognese, or hidden away in stir fries seem to be doing the trick but he is old enough now to learn how to eat healthy.

So starting from last Saturday I've started bribing my kid to eat vegetables with chocolates, cakes, and cookies.  I usually get him to finish his meals if I wave a dessert in front of him and clearly this was not working.  We tried eating the sweets and not giving him any but the kid's got will power I wish I had.  He simply ignored us without batting an eye.  So then my husband brought back a big box of airplanes and airport vehicles from his business trip and we told him he couldn't open in until he tried some veg.  I'm not talking a whole carrot just a tiny little speck and of course he didn't buy this either.

That's when I just hit my head on the wall and didn't know what to do next.  My friend suggested I get a clear box and start taking his beloved toys away until he caves and tries some veg.  So I'm on day 2 of taking toys away and I think he is just starting to grasp of the concept that he's not getting these toys back.  We've been to the supermarket together since he told me he wanted corn on the cob.  When I served him the corn on the cob I was then informed he only eats American corn on the cob.  Again I gave him a second chance and nothing.  So in went more toys.  I informed him that I was going to take the iPad away tomorrow just to be told that the iPad is too big for the box.  It's hard not to laugh in these standoffs so just had to turn my head away.

So here's what I've learned so far:  1. I'm going to need a much bigger "naughty box" and 2.  This kid has got real determination and can seriously negotiate.  The great thing about this past week is that he has eaten not a single snack, candy, biscuit, cake, raisin, ice cream, etc. and has eaten all his meals and fruit without complaining.  Well technically his best friend snuck him a singular animal cracker today when I wasn't looking!  It is amazing that I've weaned him off of sugar so quickly and unexpectedly. So who knows how many naughty boxes I'm going to have to fill up before he tries a tiny morsel of veg but I'm determined to win this one.  I've got to finish what I've started and must follow through.  I think the next step is to bring in a reward chart and offer a big prize.

Will keep you posted on the vegetable battle!

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