I hate to admit it, but it stressed me out when my son, the picky eater, refused to eat the food I prepared for him. I felt like it was such a waste of time, energy, and money to make a healthy, delicious meal, just so my son could immediately reject it. Our pediatrician advised us not to pressure him into eating if he did not want to. After all, it’s natural for a toddler’s appetite to be erratic from day-to-day.
But that stress I was feeling was not his fault, it was my own. It was my own incorrect expectations of how dinnertime was supposed to happen. The only examples I had were flashbacks of childhood when my father would say, “you get what is made, and that’s it” and he would make us sit at the table until we “cleaned out plate.” I can recall sneakily trying to scrape food from my plate onto my brother’s plate with out my dad noticing. My poor brother, Robert, would cry, but he never told on me. We would just sit there, tired and cranky, not wanting to eat this dinner placed in front of us. My dad would also be tired and cranky, until he was fed up enough, then he sent us to bed. I am sure being pressured to sit and eat everything on our plates “because other children are starving” was a big factor in my struggle with being overweight. I decided I would not try to force my children to “clean their plates.”
Back to my son Jeremy. Being a new mom, of course I was worried that he was not eating enough. I would then make him another “kid friendly” dinner that he would eat. This behavior on my part, led to me conditioning him to protest until he got what he wanted. I was disgruntled and tired of being a “short order cook.” I started reading lots of parenting books for tips on how to feed a picky toddler, or how to get your kids to eat their vegetables. I asked my other parent-friends for their advice. There was A LOT that did not work for us. I was at the point where I felt I was going to be serving cereal and milk for almost every meal.
Of all of the picky eater books and advice that I have read, there wasn’t one method or technique that I felt worked for my family and me. So I decided to take the parts that did work and tweak it to fit my needs. AND this begins my journey to mealtime bliss.
I recently read It’s Not About the Broccoli, by Dina Rose, PhD, and decided to implement some of her techniques. Check out my visual Toddler Mealtime Schedule and Menu. So for, so good. I will be posting more updates as they come along.