Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Works for Me!--Encouraging Toddler to Eat

I am playing along with Shannon over at Rocks in My Dryer today and sharing a new trick to encourage Isaac to eat a wider variety of food.

Before we even brought Isaac home from the hospital, I came to understand that eating was a major issue in the mother/child relationship. Due to various issues, we came home with a 7 pound baby boy who was both breast-feeding and drinking formula from a medicine cup (don't ask...it was something suggested by a demanding lactation specialist and only a new mommy with little sense would agree to such silliness). Feeding him became the instant purpose for my being those initial weeks.

Fast-forward almost three years later and Isaac is an eating machine. Although he has his picky streaks, he usually eats more in a day than I do. However, he is a bit rigid about what he will eat and how he will eat it. For instance, he (thinks he) cannot eat food combined together (casseroles, hamburgers, etc...). I suppose he likes one single taste rather than a combination of tastes. We have a rule that everything must be given an honest try on his plate, but currently do not make him eat an entire serving of a food he does not care for....although the one bite rule will likely morph into a three bite rule as he ages. Also, he eats what we are eating at supper with usually some extra fruit thrown on his plate.

Enter my new strategy....letting him help with dinner preparation. Isaac has been cooking with me since he was about 17 months old. However, that cooking has usually just centered around baking cookies or cakes. Lately he has been assisting me with the baking of biscuits, pancakes, or muffins for our Saturday morning breakfast time. Now I have also enlisted his help in supper preparation. Such duties have really inspired him to eat new things simply because he cooked them himself.

He is more apt to munch on bell pepper while we make pizza or actually eat turkey on a sandwich rather than picking the whole thing apart. He has a sense of pride when everyone is summoned to the table because he was part of the process that generated the food. Who knows...perhaps this is the beginning of an illustrious career as a chef and his own show (with guest appearances by his astonishingly young looking mother) on the Food Network.

Pull up a chair (or if you have the space and extra cash, buy one of these) and let your kids in on the cooking. It is a test in patience, but it opens the doors of communication, provides ample opportunities to learn, and might inspire that picky child to eat what he/she has created.

Works for me!


Meliss said...

Wise idea! I have a picky toddler right now.

Shelley said...

I do that with my middle daughter. She loves to cook and the more she cooks, the more she eats! I saw that "nifty stool thing" on Racheal Ray the other day!!! Thanks for sharing :)

Shanta said...

I wonder if this will work with Ken. He'd look pretty cool in the tower.

margk said...

I love those stools! We always wanted to get one for P but we didn't have enough space in our kitchen. My kids have always liked veggies better cooked with garlic. Just a thought...

Hey, did you ever post your article on your blog? I think we were moving when it came out so maybe I missed it. I would still love to read it. I'll search your blog and see if I can find it.