It is common for children to go through a phase of fussy eating and it is frequently a normal part of their development, however, if meal times are more about screaming and cajoling than eating you, and your maid can find yourselves at your wit’s end.
In these situations, it is important for you and your nanny to remain calm. Your toddler will grow up to make their own decisions about what they want and do not want to eat. In the meanwhile, you need a positive and consistent approach to help your child make healthy and balanced choices in future and to reduce the impact of their fussy eating on your family.
By setting out simple guidelines you can help your housemaid manage the situation when you are not there. It is important to remember that they may not have the same understanding of healthy eating as you do.
Getting anxious about mealtimes will only make the situation worse. Ask your maid to make positive comments about the foods you would like your toddler to try and praise any efforts on their behalf heavily. Giving more attention to a toddler who is being fussy will teach them that this is a good way to get attention. When your toddler will no longer eat instruct your maid to take the plate away without making any negative comments.
Make sure they do plenty of physical activity to ensure that they are hungry and have a healthy appetite.
Be realistic about the portions you expect them to eat. Your toddler may have consumed all they need or they may not be hungry. Just let them know that you or your nanny will put the food aside for them for later if they change their mind to discourage snacking.
Children naturally have some days where they are hungrier than others, so try not to look at what they have eaten at one meal or over one day but focus on what they have eaten over the week.
Make eating sociable
Eat as a family if you can and when you can’t ask your maid to eat with your toddler. It will set a good example especially if she is eating the same healthy food. Toddlers learn through imitation and are more likely to try a new food if they see someone they trust eating it.
Don’t replace a refused meal with a different one
Your child will soon learn that this is a clever way to get what they want! Better to include foods that they will eat in the family meal.
Make mealtimes fun
Arrange play dates for your toddler. Eating in company is always far more fun even for children, and if the other child is a good eater they may encourage your kid to try new foods.
Remove distractions such as games, toys and TV. They will remind you that there are other fun things that they can do instead of eating.
Make fun food! Ask your maid to make the food look appetising and offer finger foods which can make your child feel more in control.
Be aware of drink intake
Sugary drinks are easy to consume and tasty and your child might not be feeling hungry because they are getting their energy requirements from drinks instead of food. It’s worth noting that sugary drinks are not good for your child, especially for their teeth. Fizzy drink s also have little to no nutritional value.
Ask your nanny to keep snacks away from meal times as they will reduce your toddler’s appetite. If they are really hungry move their meal time forward to encourage them to eat healthily.
Make it interesting
Involve your little one in shopping for meals and simple cooking. If they are involved in the creation of their meal they will be more inclined to try it.
Ask that everyone in your family consistently follows these rules and enjoy your family time together. It won’t be long before your toddler moves out of this phase and you may have an amazing eater in the family!