Monday, February 8, 2010

Teach your children well

Children learn by modelling.

Yes, they go through phases. At the moment, my grandson, who used to eat any and all fruit put in front of him in preference to anything else, shakes his head and turns away at the offer of even his favourites - raisins, blueberries and bananas.

I don't make a fuss. I don't try to cajole him into eating. Nor do I offer him an alternative by way of food or fruit at that meal. This week he is off rice, too, but he'll eat quinoa and all vegetables. And he loves pasta. Today, at least.

At some stage, a child will be expected to eat whatever the rest of the family eats. Don't drive yourself crazy cooking different meals. Yes, what the rest of the family is having may need some extra mashing or chopping until little ones can cope with bigger bits, but it is a good idea to introduce them to different textures and flavours. I'm not suggesting that you puree Madras curry for baby's lunch, but after nine months, a mild curry is fine.

 Be adventurous and try some new foods yourself. Eat together as often as you can. Let little ones see you enjoying what you eat. They are enormously interested and curious about everything around them - capitalise on that. Let's face it, everything they can pick up goes straight in their mouths.

Be adventurous and try some new foods yourself.
All new foods should be offered with a confident and positive attitude, and as a separate item - don't stir it through his entire meal. Just a teaspoon the first time, at the start of the meal when he is hungry. Make no comment if the new food is rejected. Try it again tomorrow, or next week. Just be sure that you do try it again. Don't cross it off the menu forever.

I firmly believe that a normally healthy, growing child - no matter how young - will eat as much as his/her body needs.


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