Is your child a food-picker? Read this now and Relax!
- JWB Post
- May 1, 2015
Are you the one who makes BIG BIG efforts to feed your LITTLE one. Are you spending all days long in the kitchen to invent something that will feed the dustbin in the end. Ellyn Satter’s groundbreaking 2000 book Child of Mine: Feeding With Care and Good Sense can be a life-changing read for you.
Satter, a dietitian nutritionist and family therapist, promotes a “division of responsibility” for meals: the parent decides when to eat, what to serve, and where to serve it, and the child decides whether and how much to eat. There is always something on the table you know the kid will eat, like rice or fruit or bread, so all new, experimental foods are paired with familiar foods. There is no pressuring a child to “just taste” anything or insisting on a number of bites. Dessert is not tied to if or how much the child eats. Satter promotes family dinner, so adults eat with kids, and children see their parents enjoying a healthy variety of food.
The answer is in six magic words that can change the entire process of feeding. They are: “You don’t have to eat it.” The new system doesn’t mean that your child will never express dislike or say “yuck” or claim that he’s not going to eat anything. But every time he says yuck or I don’t want that, you say calmly, “You don’t have to eat it,” and tuck into your own meal.
The biggest revelation is that it will give you permission to stop hounding your child to eat—to even, really, stop monitoring what he or she eats. Because the meals you make are reasonably healthy and somewhat varied, you can enjoy your meal and let him eat, or not eat, without any Sturm und Drang.
Isn’t it one simple and amazing advice?