Winning the Battle with a Picky Eater

As a baby, our son ate very well. We had little trouble feeding him; we often felt that we could not feed him enough. However, as he grew older, he became very picky. We battled the fuss – and often lost – before we figured out how to get our son to eat what we give him. Above all else, we had to learn not to give in and feed him only his favorite foods, which are not always the healthiest.

Very picky eater

As a baby, our son would devour most jarred baby foods, especially peas and ham. We really had very little trouble getting him to eat the baby food. We began thinking that when he becomes a teenager (only a year away now) he would eat us out of the proverbial house and home. We envisioned buying groceries twice a week just to feed the monster. My parents raised six boys who ate non-stop as teens, so I thought that my wife and I would be in big trouble when it came to feeding our teenage son. As a toddler, though, he lost his love for ham and peas when we started giving him the normal solid versions of the foods. We could not understand why, and we still have not figured it out ten years later.

Wrap it up and save it for later

We would put our son’s dinner down in front of him. For a long while, we could not get him to eat. We struggled with this for a long time until I finally asked my mother how she did it with six of us. She had struggled some with my oldest brothers at first until she tried a method that worked. She told us not to get upset about it; just wrap it up and put it away. When the next mealtime comes, give him the very same plate while we have what we want. Repeat if necessary. If it goes bad, make another batch of the same dinner. Eventually, he will get hungry enough to eat it. Consistency is the hardest part, but the method worked as long as we stuck to it.

The Popsicle melt

Soon after we started feeding our son the same dinners that we eat, my wife decided to “teach him a lesson.” He wanted a Popsicle for dessert, and she said that he may have it when he finishes his plate. He refused. She put the Popsicle down just out of his reach but would not let him get it until he ate his supper. He watched that Popsicle melt into cherry juice and finally ate his supper thinking he would get another Popsicle. He did not get one. He cried and fussed but got nothing. From then on, he learned that if he wanted his dessert, he would finish his dinner first.

Payback in restaurants

When our son turned five, we started a new restaurant rule, which we still enforce. If he does not eat what we buy for him, he has to pay us back the cost. This works especially well because he gets to choose his food (within reason) at the restaurants. We started at five because my mother starting giving him money for birthdays and other occasions. Grandma gets her way! Our payback rule has gotten our son to eat what we buy him. After three paybacks, he got the message.

Do NOT cave in!

Our son is growing up as a very picky eater, and we occasionally have to force him to eat his non-favorite foods. We used to cave in and give him his favorites, but we learned better over time. Now, he knows to eat what we give him or go hungry. He will eventually get hungry enough to eat, so the battles have turned in our favor. I have also explained that some of my health issues came from a poor diet as a teen. I would eat the healthy foods that my mother gave me but shoved in the junk whenever I could — too much of it. He now eats more fruits and vegetables, which will keep him healthier as he grows into adulthood.

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The Alphabet Walkway And Other Methods of Teaching the ABC’s

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