OPINION: Fussy eaters are dictators at the dining table
TANTRUMS at the table, stamping of the feet, refusal to eat and dictatorship of the dinner menu. These are all things fussy child eaters have in common.
Not a week goes by that a fellow parent does not tell me they cannot get their children to eat vegies.
Some of them are deep in despair when they admit what they think is a failing as a parent.
Others don't seem to mind, as they've changed their meals to suit the child's likings and it appears to be the parent's liking too.
But the problem when dealing with fussy eaters is that, depending on how you deal with it, you could make the situation a whole lot worse.
Many child experts will tell you children need their vegetables, meat and dairy for a well-rounded diet that creates good eating habits into the future.
Others will tell you not to sweat it, your child's eating habits will change over time, you just need to keep serving up the good stuff.
But therein lies the problem. Some parents with fussy eaters have been through hell and back trying to get their kids to take the healthy option so they've given up.
They no longer even plan vegies into their meals because they're sick of seeing it go to waste.
How is anyone ever going to learn to like a food group when it's not offered to them to eat? Why not start off small, with one or two vegetables so the waste isn't so great?
Make sure you're eating vegetables at dinner so they see you enjoying them. Don't offer them something else in place of vegetables, or extra food after tea time, and they may just start eating them out of sheer hunger.
If they're old enough get them to help prepare the meal. These are all things you can try that will not start an argument or require extra willpower or patience.
I've seen many kids refuse to eat their vegies simply because they are yelled at and told they are not leaving the table until the food is gone.
Well that's a sure way to instil a hatred of something. Possibly, as the child has a choice, they won't try that vegie again.
So quit the fuss and chill out if you've a fussy little one. You can have your vegies and eat them too.