I remember when I was young the difficulty my parents had getting me to eat three meals a day, especially dinners. My dad would say he may as well dish up my dinner straight in to the bin! Well now I know how they felt! Getting Lily to sit still long enough to finish a meal has become increasingly challenging. She has become a total fussy eater. Breakfast isn’t too bad, she will eat most of it without too much trouble. Lunch slightly more difficult she will eat about half of what we give her. Dinner is the worst, depending on what it is and how tired she is she will sometimes struggle to even eat half of it.
The Dinner Set Up
We try to encourage her to eat by putting her in her high chair so she can’t just get up and start playing with her toys. I will put the TV on for her so she’s not bored. I know some might scold me for that, but if it gets food in her I’m going to do it! But still I will often find her just sat watching the TV rather than eating.
So I’ve decided to try a similar thing to when we potty trained Lily- reward stickers.
We started last Saturday when we needed Lily to eat reasonably quickly as we had to go out that evening. Her dinner was one of her regulars, chicken and peach pasta. She used to love it but I think is a bit bored of it now, plus the chicken can be a bit chewy which she doesn’t like (blame me for being paranoid and overcooking it!). She started off having one mouthful and then spitting it all out in to her bib. This has become the norm lately in her fussy style of refusing pretty much everything. This time however I got the stickers and said “If you eat a mouthful you can have a sticker”. Well sure enough she did and was delighted to get a sticker!
We kept going with this until all the pasta was gone, giving her a sticker every few mouthfuls until all that was left was the bits of chicken. The chewy bits! There is no chance she’s going to eat these I thought, but I tried it again and offered her a sticker if she eats a piece of chicken. And it worked! She ate every bit of the dinner! There’s something about your child finishing a plate of dinner that can make us parents ridiculously happy.
First Time Lucky?
The next day we tried it again when it came to dinner time. It was a very risky dinner as it was a HIPP Organic vegetable risotto, lots of peas and vegetables that Lily would usually turn her nose up at. These parents who boast that their child loves vegetables don’t know how lucky they are! Oh yes Lily loves nothing more than to gnaw on a piece of broccoli too… Not.
Anyway, so Lily caught on to the sticker idea quickly as she remembered it from the day before and low and behold she ate every bit of the dinner too! Even the peas! No dramas, no begging, no “one last bite” just a few stickers! Amazing! A few days down the line and we are cutting down on the amount of stickers we are giving her but now she seems to have got in to the habit of eating more of her meals. I’m so pleased that it’s worked! Honestly, give Lily a sticker and she is one happy girl. Fussy eater no more!