If you have a child who is a fussy eater it can make meal times frustrating, cause anxiety for the parents and child, and often leave parents feeling lost as to what to do.
Many parents also feel frustrated and sometimes even angry that they have put so much effort into preparing the meal and their child flat out refuses to eat it or throws it on the floor.
BUT please do your best to remain calm offering positive reinforcement. If your response causes your child to become upset, frustrated and or angry they will go into the ‘flight/flight’ response with causes the body to release adrenaline. Adrenaline is an appetite suppressant so you will then be fighting a loosing battle of actually getting them to eat.
Meal times are also a time that children like to try and assert their authority and gain attention whether it be positive or negative so give your attention/positive feedback when they are eating well rather than negative attention when they are eating poorly. For example for a child showing resistance to eating vegetables. Praise them for what they have eaten well and positively suggest they then try a vegetable “well done you’ve eaten all your pasta now let’s try some carrots they will help you see in the dark!” rather than “if you don’t eat your vegetables there will be no dessert”. In this case you are sending a message that the vegetables are the punishment, de-valuing them, and placing value in the dessert by making it the reward for doing something they don’t want to do.
I know this can all be tough ask as meal times can be very stressful. If you have a fussy eater it can often feel like ground hog day but there are things that can be done to help the situation.
Staying calm and positive is a really good start.
Good luck and stay strong!