Being wary of trying new foods is a normal development stage in all children that typically peaks around 18 months and doesn’t necessarily constitute being ‘fussy’, as it is often labelled. Whilst it may not feel like it’s going to, it generally passes in time.
Lucy Jones’ top tips
Mealtimes should be a fun and exciting time for you and your little one. With these simple steps, both you and baby will look forward to mealtimes.
- Same time, same place. Get into a routine with known times and locations for meals and snacks. Familiarity helps little ones feel relaxed and comfortable.
- You set the rules. Offer simple, healthy food and avoid asking tots what they want. Offer a little at first and more if finished, with lots of praise along the way.
- Try, try and try again. Refusal of new foods is entirely normal. Remove what isn’t eaten without comment but continue to offer the same food on consecutive days, with more accepted food at mealtimes. It can take as many as 15-25 tries before toddlers become accustomed to a new taste.
- No pressure. Studies show that applying pressure leads little ones to dislike a food even more. Instead, keep mealtimes happy and fun.
- Praise works brilliantly. Kiddies will work hard for a reward! Star charts and badges are great incentives but avoid rewarding good eating with sweet treats.
- Be a role model. The best way to get your tot to eat the foods you want them to is by eating it with them, so they have someone to copy. That way they’ll know that it’s safe and delicious to eat.