Ah, dinner time. The chance for your family to catch up with one another over some hearty, home-cooked fare. In your head it plays out like an opening sequence from The Brady Bunch. You serve up a delicious casserole in one of those fancy dishes, beaming at your children. Your kitchen glistens, seemingly unmarred from the hours of chopping, simmering, dicing and prepping. Your eldest child springs from his seat to help you, amicably recalling the events of his day. Your youngest claps her hands in glee and zealously gobbles up all her food – not a tantrum in sight…
Well, that’s the dream isn’t it?
The reality of course, as any parent knows, is markedly different. A meal thrown together after a long day of working, commuting or running after little ones. A kitchen that looks not unlike a crime scene – tomato sauce splattered on the counters, grubby, inquisitive fingerprints on the cupboards, dirty dishes tottering in the sink. Your eldest child is largely uncommunicative, preferring to view life through his phone screen. And as for your youngest? Snot bubbling from flared nostrils, big fat tears rolling down red cheeks as the nightly battle of fussy eater VS you commences. Sigh.
The good news is, you’re not alone. Research shows that the majority of children go through phases (often lengthy) of picking at food or refusing it entirely. In most cases, it’s a combination of testing their boundaries with you and asserting their sense of self while also getting to grips with their developing taste buds. Thankfully, there are ways to deal with it. A more harmonious table is within reach…
- Start them young
As soon as your child has been weaned, try to get them going on a varied diet. Mix in fruit, vegetables and textured foods to the menu. The more your child’s palette becomes accustomed to all the different flavours, the less likely they will be to reject them later on. Remember that kids love eating with their fingers so make the transition easy for them by serving up things like carrot sticks, apple slices and whole corn that can be waved about in pudgy hands.
- Be sneaky
Generally, if a child can’t see something, they won’t complain about it. Learn the art of blending. Blending is your friend. Mix healthy greens and nutrient-packed seeds into inoffensive-looking pasta sauces.
- Focus on the positives
Try looking at the food your child does like and build from that. If it’s milk, why not whip up a berry-laden milkshake? If they’re a pasta fiend, try rustling up some ravioli stuffed with spinach? This is a slow and steady way to expand their taste buds. If you can get them involved in the process of making and cooking, all the better. Small children like to feel important by lending a hand in the kitchen. If they think they’re the chef, they’ll be less inclined to turn their nose up at the results.
- Avoid junk foods
This is particularly important in the early years when a child’s taste buds and appetite are developing. They won’t miss what they’ve never tried and you won’t have to endure calls for chicken nuggets as food is toppled on the floor for the hundredth time. Keep snacks between meals light and healthy – fruit, yoghurt or crackers with spread.
- Don’t make meal-time a battle
This may seem hard at times but it’s incredibly important. Don’t let your child see any frustration or impatience. The more aggro you create over the uneaten green beans, the less your child will want to try them in the future.
Whatever happens at meal time, Frezyderm will be on hand afterwards to create the most bubbly, smile-inducing bath. Our Sensitive Kids Shower Bath is super moisturising and free from all the bad stuff, it’ll send your little ones drowsily off to the land of nod.