Apparently, kids also need to eat.
I know right, who would have thought it?
At various stages of life when you are a Dad, you need to make sure they eat and eat good foods.
That is a massive shame because it is the bad foods that they love to eat more of!
When kids are babies, it is much easier.
There are two choices, give them to Mum, or grab a bottle of milk formula.
Too easy really.
Then they hit 4 to 6 months, and kids need more sustenance.
Over the following 2-3 years, maybe more, their taste buds will continue to surprise you.
The food they loved last week is despised now.
Their horror is displayed through various means…..vomiting, flicking food on the floor, crying, extreme, unwarranted, pure evil, tirades of abuse hurled in your direction.
You’ve Cracked It! Oh, Wait, No, You Haven’t.
Kid Is STILL Refusing to Eat!
They Still Do Not Eat!
When you eventually find food they love, don’t celebrate yet.
You will likely find yourself cleaning it off your clothes if you dare to serve it up to them again.
My kid has a tendency to refuse to eat.
You know which mood he is in as soon as you mention breakfast, lunch….pretty much any mealtime.
His first reaction will set my expectations for the battle I have in front of me.
They Do Not Work All Of The Time
There are some tricks you can keep in your battle chest for when the time comes.
Some of them work one day, some the other days.
There are no tips that work every time, every day.
Don’t forget; you are dealing with an emotionally unstable, pint-size dictator who wants to be in charge but doesn’t have the life experience, brain….or height to lead a family.
That’s your job.
1. Create a Picnic
One time, I made him scrambled eggs on toast for lunch.
He turned his nose up!
I wasn’t just frustrated because it was EXACTLY what he asked for, SIX TIMES. I was frustrated because I was also hungry, and my lunch was getting cold.
‘Do you want a picnic’ I said excitedly.
His eyes lit up. ‘Yes, please’ was his response.
I took his scrambled eggs on toast and put them in one of these section plates.
I put a blanket on the floor, and we both sat down.
This simple trick somehow convinced him he was having a picnic.
Kids and their imagination, eh!
He ate the whole lot and wanted more.
The very next day, he clearly did not want a picnic.
2. Let Them Make It
This one you need to prep for if you feel they are going to refuse the food you give them, you can’t use it if you have already prepped their lunch.
Get them involved.
If you are making a sandwich, take the bread, butter, and filling to the table and let them make it.
Not only do they want to eat it more, but they also become less reliant on you and more self-sufficient!
Obviously, if you are making them something hot, they do not join you for that one.
3. Lie To Them
That’s right…..I said it. One of your weapons is a BIG FAT LIE. Deal with it.
‘Eat this, it is what Batman eats’
A complete lie. We all know Batman doesn’t need to eat.
They don’t know, though.
‘Eat this bit of bread, you will grow muscles like The Hulk’
Complete fabrication. You need protein to build muscle!
‘You know what pirates eat? That’s right, Ham’ They really don’t.
They fall for it, though.
Give it a go.
4. Bribe Them
I am not talking about a brown envelope here! No money is involved….unless you get desperate and bribe them with a toy!
It is simple…..
‘If you eat 5 more mouthfuls, I will get you some desert’
You know they are getting dessert anyway, but why not use it as a bribe? I guess there is a danger that they will start to see sweet food as a reward.
Live for the moment though!
Stick to that threat though, if you back down, they will take advantage.
Kids are more clever than they look. Remember that.
5. Give Your Kid Less Snacks
Pretty obvious this one.
Some days, mine asks for food. I give him some food.
This is outside of normal eating patterns, and you are setting yourself up for a battle royale when it comes to lunchtime.
I do it because it is easy, and it keeps him quiet for 10 minutes.
It would not be a good idea in the long run, especially if they didn’t eat breakfast or lunch!
Let them snack on fruit or something healthy like that.
6. Remove Distractions
Distractions are mostly from electronic devices or toys.
If I got paid every time I’ve said ‘Eat your lunch or I will turn this off,’ I could buy Google and have money left!
On occasion, this has the ability to initiate a huge meltdown, so use wisely.
Make sure they do not have toys or their tablet/phone at the dinner table. That goes for you, too, unfortunately.
If they see you distracted, they will join in.
They will also get used to having a distraction at the dinner table, which is bad news.
7. Create a Meal Routine
This is probably the biggest tip.
A bit like bedtime (Same time every day; bath, brush teeth, drink, toilet, bed), eating becomes a much easier task when you subconsciously build them up to it.
Have a set time for each meal time.
Ask them to get the cutlery, and ask them to set the table up. Make them a drink and get them to take it to the table.
When you are in boss mode, you can even get them to switch off the TV if it is on.
When they get used to this preparation, they will be subconsciously building up to eat and will be more pliable when feeding.
8. Watch Their Drink Intake
Drink fills them up and confuses them into thinking they are no longer hungry (I know, why doesn’t that work for adults too!).
Take it easy on the drink intake.
When you make them a drink, make sure you go for something boring, like plain water.
If you jazz up the drink (Strawberry Milkshake, for instance), they will drink more of it.
There are so many battles when it comes to being a Dad…..or a Mum, to be honest.
You need some help and some useful tips if your kid is refusing to eat.
It is always good to have the upper hand, psychologically speaking, when you battle with a toddler.
Hopefully, these tips will come in useful.
Stay strong, Dads of this world. You may lose the odd battle, you may lose the war, but eventually, they will go to sleep, and you can have a beer.