Dear Cheeky Chums my 4 year old son wont eat and he starts school in September what can i do? he has always been fussy but now he will only eat cornflakes twice a day or chips and red sauce .
he even screams when we try new foods and leave them out ive tried everything please help.
here are tips to assist your child’s eating habits.
- It is now a phobia and trying new foods is causing fear and anxiety for the child.
- lead by example if all the adults only eat junk food then the child will too.You cannot expect adults to eat Junk but the kids have something different its not fair so you have to be consistent.
- having separate dining times in these busy times can be hard.Stage 1 eat as a family, set out a buffet type dinner and all help your self in choosing many items to add to a plate include all his favourite meals.
- you are setting new rules and even if he doesn’t want to join in picking anything other than chips or cornflakes it doesn’t matter today. This first stage is about creating change that you will all follow through.Stage 1 is just to get rid of any fear that’s started to be associated with food.
- ignore any screams completely and i mean completely never mind whats happened in the past, this is a new day my friend for the new, no stress eating habits. be patient calm ignore and talk about whats on TV tonight so fear isn’t being the issue, as he understands you ignoring him when he screams you are taking the pressure off the fear of eating.PLEASE REMEMBER there will be no pressure what so ever to try anything new today at all.
- This stage must be repeated until he gets used to the idea of sitting together and everyone choosing something to eat.When the screams stops then stage 1 is complete it may take 2 or 3 separate meal times to get the hang of this new eating routine..
- When you sit together as a family in stage 1 you must put out many different types of foods per sitting that all the family can choose for them selves.
- Stage 2 shows its good to change so omitting 1 item today of your child’s favourite foods is the focus.If chips isn’t on the table then he will only get one choice of his other preferred food Cornflakes,but you wont tell him to eat anything unless he chooses to do so, its his choice!
- .by introducing different foods types shows you as a family eating anything that each of you choose to add to the plate. Stage 2 is watching and seeing others eat this is what your child will see and not fear.Today is again not making him eat anything new but to watch as others make their own choices from whats available.
- stage 2 is repeated without the pressure being put onto him.(because it had gone to the phobia stage there is a lot of hard work to be done to get out of this fearful habit).
- stage 3 no preferred foods just whats available as a family. again this time, he can choose whats available and boy do you praise them when he try’s something new, even if its only one pea or one strawberry. you must not make your child try anything else at all unless he chooses to do or the fear will just start again.Back to stage 1 yes it will take patience and repeated mealtimes together but because its so fearful for your child its a slow and steady progress.if he doesn’t join in then you try at the next mealtime this is the hardest stage as he will choose something new (omitting his favorites off the menu) and because everyone else has to pick from whats out, so will he then he too will eventually join in trying new foods slowly over time.