What can I do about my nine year old sons picky eating?

Shannon - posted on 09/11/2011 ( 3 moms have responded )

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My just turned nine year old stepson is such a picky eater! He would rather Have ramen noodles or anything boxed than something healthy and homemade. How can I get him to eat a variety, without making it torture to him? Even if he hasnt had it he will say he doesnt like it!

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Katrina - posted on 09/11/2011

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First of all, make sure there is no other option. Don't buy the boxed/pre-prepared food...that way, you can't back down :)
Let him know that if he doesn't eat his meal, there is nothing in exchange. (Maybe leave it on the table for up to 1 hour after dinner so he is not pressured to eat it in the time it would take you)
Dessert is not an option until he has eaten a certain amount (you have to have realistic views...maybe to start with, just his veges...then when he is better at it, he has to finish his plate). Once you/partner/other kids have finished eating, get them dessert, dish his up and tell him that it is there waiting for him, as long as he eats x,yandz.
Don't put too much on his plate to start with. Big amounts can be very daunting.
Allow him to stop when he wants to...but make sure he knows there is no more food until the next meal/snack-time.
A friend of mine has a battle with her eldest girl with vegetables, the way she combats it is to make sure she always dishes up carrots. DD will NOT eat carrots, so Kim bargains with her "you can leave the carrots, if you eat all the other vege"
Get your SS to help you pick vege etc. that he likes, show him how to cook it, make it fun.
If he is a "reward chart" kid, set one up and if he eats his dinner (within reason) for each day, then he gets a special something at the end of the week.
My eldest is a very visual child, if she doesn't like the look of food, she will say she doesn't like it. We have a rule, that she has to try one FULL mouthful before she can say whether she likes it or not. She then (as long as it is not making her gag) has to have a minimum of 5 mouthfuls before we will accept that she doesn't need to have anymore.

Remember these simple rules:
1. A child will not starve themselves...it sounds bad, but as long as you stick to your guns, they will eat the good food eventually.
2. 20 yucks to 1 yum. Keep dishing something up (maybe one thing at a time - like carrots) and have that thing every meal. Each meal they have to try it but don't necessarily have to finish it.

Good luck (and I realise that these things might be harder for you to deal with as he is your StepSon.) But sometimes, it's about going back to basics and dealing with it like you would a 2 or 3 yo.

Shannon - posted on 09/12/2011

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Thank you! His dad wants to make him sit at the table until its done I am more if you don't like it and will not eat it then you can go to your room but this is what you will have when you get hungry.

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JuLeah - posted on 09/11/2011

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I have used this trick - healthy snack only AND, for an actual meal, put a very very small amount of what they like on the plate and the servings you wish them to eat of everything else. They can have seconds when their plate is cleared

He doesn't have to 'like it' that is not a requirement

He needs to learn to take care of his body and that is more important then him liking it

He eats well because he respects his body and it is good for him

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