Parents often resort to bribes, yelling, even begging to get their little one to eat the food on his or her plate. Well, a new study is now indicating that parents should not be pressuring their picky toddler to eat.
According to CNN, a study was recently published in the journal Appetite which revealed that even if a toddler is picky, he or she is still growing just fine, so don't fret! Even if the child's behavior lasts for years, it is okay, and parents should not force a little one to eat food that they do not want.
Dr. Julie Lumeng was one of the authors who conducted the study. She is a pediatrician and research professor at the University of Michigan. Lumeng revealed that pressure from a parent to eat has no effect at all on a child. It is not positive or negative. Therefore it is basically a waste of time.
Reassuring to know that picky food behavior in my own toddler is not going to affect his growth and nutrition. https://t.co/uHp2Qny8cA— Robert Lee (@DrRobertCLee) July 30, 2018
She followed 244 children between the ages of 2 and 3 for one year and compared their parent's tactics in regards to the child's picky eating habits. Lumeng monitored how the behavior affected each child's health and growth, as well as whether or not the toddler's pickiness diminished due to the parent's behavior.
The study found that parental pressure did nothing to help or stop a child from being a picky eater. In fact, it almost always backfires with the toddler digging his or her heels in and refusing to eat. There is a way to avoid this, and it's very simple. Stop pressuring the child to eat.
I don't encourage bad manners BUT is there really a better way to eat spaghetti?! 😂 It's actually veggie spaghetti & he ate it all which is a miracle because he's a picky eater! Do you have a toddler who's hard to feed?! #AuntieLife #AtlasJayce #AtlasAndAuntie pic.twitter.com/A94IDqZLvm— Kandolite Flores (@KandoliteKFOX14) January 30, 2018
Parents need to understand that just like an adult, a child's eating habits will change throughout their lifetime. It is especially true when the little ones go from babyhood to being a full-blown toddler.
Now that doesn't mean that you should cater to your kids, but perhaps make yourselves healthy meals and fix your child the same thing. Add an extra item to your child's plate to introduce new foods, but if your little one sees you eating the same food off of your plate, he or she will be more likely to eat as well. There should be no negative association with food, kids remember that and will be more reluctant to try new foods if this is engrained in their minds.
Pediatricians spend a lot of time working with parents on #pickyeaters. If a picky eater is a 2-3 year old who is healthy & growing well,try NOT to make food a control issue.Toddlers & preschoolers almost always win food control issues because it’s one of the few they CAN win. 1/— Mary Beth Miotto MD (@MAhealthforkids) June 29, 2018
Finally, let your child choose how much he or she is going to eat. It may not be as much as you want, but let them know they have say during feeding time.