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Thread: Picky Eater

  1. #1
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    Picky Eater

    Hi all,

    Does anyone else suffer from a very picky child? I have a current child (# 3 years old) who won't eat anything unless it's chocolate. He parents send her with treats to get her to come, i.e gummy fruit snacks, cookies, bear paws etc... at lunch time all she wants is Nutella. I don't buy it due to chemicals but buy the P.C brand stuff as it is chemical free. But still don't like serving it. Her parents asked me to try not feeding it to her for 2 weeks (yet she had it for breakie before she came???)

    I didn't serve it to her for 2 weeks but she only ate mac and cheese and bagels with cream cheese. She refuses to eat fruit and or veggies. Her paretns told me to be firm with her yesterday and i told her today that she must eat all her mac n cheese plus veggies or no chocolate milk at quiet time. she ate nothing!

    I hate it when she won't eat and feel like I'm failing in some way!

  2. #2
    Expansive... Play and Learn's Avatar
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    You have to be firm with the little one. My kids know that they won't get anything else then what's infront of them.

    As one dcm says to me, "as long as J eats something, and has lots of fluids in her, I'm just happy about that". If the kid is hungry, they'll eat. You can put it out, and tell the parents that the food was out, but she chose not to eat. The important thing for me is that they have their water or milk throughout the day.

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    Yum I could live on Nutella. Some nice Rye bread and some Nutella equals bliss. But I would never serve Nutella in the daycare.
    I make lunch and snacks the same for everyone. Usually snacks are more successful than lunches. I also have a 3 yr old who can be quite picky.
    She will look at the lunch like lasagna or pasta and say "My tummy is full". I then ask her to take 3 bites and then she can be excused.
    She is good about the 3 bites and then leaves.
    It often happens that she then says during quiet time that she is hungry. I just look her in the eyes and smile politely and say "I am sure you are because you didn't eat all of your yummy lunch but now you will have to wait until the babies wake up and we have snack."

    I know she likes rice and chicken with corn so I try to make that on at least one day when she is here...or soup.

    I do a treat day every 3 weeks or so where we have Ravioli or Grilled Cheese or KD and of course I never hear her tummy is full those days but I don't make a big deal about it. I ask her to at least try foods (the 3 bites) and then she can either choose to have more or wait for snack.

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    You might try not letting her leave the table. Being able to be excused to go play is often too much incentive for kids and then they realize too late they are still hungry. If they have to sit and stare at the food there is a good chance they will actually eat more of it and especially when the child next to them finishes their meal and then receives dessert - applesauce and cookie.

    As far as just being picky - food jags are normal with 3 year olds but in daycare they have to eat the meal that is served. It is ok to acknowledge that you know they would rather be eating nutella or grilled cheese for the third day in a row but that variety of foods is important and that today the meal will be lasagna. Then they can eat it, stare at it, whatever. I dont' even play the three bites game. I just serve it and retreat. I have found not making eye contact with the child during the meal actually helps a lot and the kids eat a lot more if I make myself busy and not available for a confrontation. There is no battle if there is no opponent. I check emails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by playfelt View Post
    You might try not letting her leave the table. Being able to be excused to go play is often too much incentive for kids and then they realize too late they are still hungry. If they have to sit and stare at the food there is a good chance they will actually eat more of it and especially when the child next to them finishes their meal and then receives dessert - applesauce and cookie.


    As far as just being picky - food jags are normal with 3 year olds but in daycare they have to eat the meal that is served. It is ok to acknowledge that you know they would rather be eating nutella or grilled cheese for the third day in a row but that variety of foods is important and that today the meal will be lasagna. Then they can eat it, stare at it, whatever. I dont' even play the three bites game. I just serve it and retreat. I have found not making eye contact with the child during the meal actually helps a lot and the kids eat a lot more if I make myself busy and not available for a confrontation. There is no battle if there is no opponent. I check emails.
    YOu make some good points.
    I don't offer dessert. To me that seems an extra expense and a bad incentive to finish good food for junk food.
    I do agree that not hovering during lunch is good. I usually go behind the counter and make busy with dishes and starting to put the pots or serving dishes away....or pouring milk or sippy cup refills...or helping the little ones wipe their mouth etc.

    I write in my manual that children will be OFFERED food but not forced to eat. I am not going to sit there and force someone, try to convince them or entice them and quite frankly there is no time to give that sort of attention to 1 difficult child who is 3 or up when there are toddlers who could use help or a napkin wipe, etc. They are given the food, I encourage them to try at least a bit but if they don't that is too bad. I know she will survive until snack.

    3 bites works here for me. I know she at least tried and if she wants to go off and play and be hungry then that is her decision. Kids have to learn that actions have consequences (ie a hungry tummy if they go off and play) and that they can have the right to say no to something or an adult when it comes to anything to do with their own bodies (ie what goes into their tummies and whether they want to be touched, etc)

    I tell parents upfront that I am not going to force their kids to eat or take a spoon and try to cajole them to eat, etc. I might do that if it was my own kids at dinner time but not for the daycare kids when I have 2-5 kids around - some of which probably need my attention more than a 3 year old

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    Well I prepared one of the 3 meals she eats, Mac "n" Cheese and put broccoli on her plate as well she took one look at the broccoli and refused to eat anything. I told her she can only eat her Mac "n" Cheese but if she doesn't eat her broccoli than no choc Milk at quiet time only white Milk. (Choc Milk at quiet time is a treat for the bigger kids but only if they eat there veggies)

    My after school kids came at 3:30 and had rice crispy squares & Granola bars, she asked for a rice crispy square as did my little one and I said "no" neither of you ate your veggies at lunch so you can have fruit but no treats. She at a banana for the 1st time ever!

    Today is day 2 and she won't eat anything at all due to veggies being on her plate, she had a large 8oz glass of milk and asked for a 2nd glass and I said no but offered her her lunch.

    Her parents sent nutella on bread for breakie and she didn't eat it! If I'm not supose to serve nutella then shouldn't they too not serve it! Just a thought!

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    Often the things parents don't want us to do is because they want to do it like no TV at daycare so my kid can watch 2 hours in the evening and give parent a break or no sugar or juice so the parent comes off as the good guy and gives juice and timbits as a treat as soon as the child gets in the door. I more or less ignore parents and do my own thing. Awful I know but unless there is a valid medical reason/allergy then they get what everyone else gets. Too often parents are jumping on this or that bandwagon of popular belief and not thinking things through at all so that becomes a factor too.

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    Side note: MMmmmmm, Nutella. Too bad I have two children with nut allergies (one of whom is my own). No peanut butter or Nutella in our house. *sniffle* lol
    My meal time policy is; I make it, I serve it, the child chooses whether or not to eat. I will very often encourage a child, especially to try something that they are turning up their noses at upon first sight. So I will say "at least one bite" or "give me 3 good bites".That said, a child does not receive seconds of anything until they have completed their first plate. I learned that very early on... few kids will dig into veggies if I let them have unlimited french fries or noodles!
    I have a pair of siblings who are veeeery picky (funny how mom said they would eat "everything"! haha). It stresses me out sometimes, but I am learning to let it go. Primarily; they learn their eating habits at home. Mom and dad are in charge of 2 meals a day, plus the entire weekend and days off, too. I will do what I can.... but that is all I can do.
    I also keep an eye on milk/juice/etc intake. Some kids will fill up on that if you aren't serving what they like. We have a cup of milk at snacktime in the A.M, a cup at lunch (sometimes juice), and a cup at snacktime in the P.M. In between, it's water if you are thirsty.
    When playfelt initially suggested above "not to let her leave the table", my first reaction was "no, I wouldn't do that". But having thought about it, I wonder if that is a pretty good idea after all. Perhaps if I put a minimum time in place for sitting at the table and eating, we may have better luck. Say for example "we sit at the table for (15? 20?) minutes. If you would like, you can keep eating. Or if you are done, I will let you know when you are excused to clean up your plate."
    Hmmmm..... food for thought. (Pun intended, lol)
    Last edited by mom-in-alberta; 06-23-2011 at 09:48 PM. Reason: more to say!

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    We move as a group throughout the day so they need to stay together to be supervised. It also sends a bad message to the others that they can get down to play too and defeats the purpose of serving a meal. I use the same philosophy when it comes to craft time or circletime. You come when called and stay where we are. Your level of participation is up to you. I do not believe that a child should be allowed to wander off from something like circletime if they get bored. They need to stay and I need to adjust what I am doing and how I am reaching out to that child. It is also part of life to learn that the world does not revolve around the child and that are part of a greater entity - the group. Offering the child something better than what they have will always make them want it. I figure there is enough socializing, conversation, discussion etc going on at meal time that there is stuff to entertain the child, they can even see out the kitchen window and watch the birds if they are that bored from eating. I too have the rule that you eat everything on your plate before you get seconds of anything including drink. Even then there is never seconds of teh starch. Mostly I have cooked only as much as I think they will eat so if they eat what is on their plate then they are given other foods to fill them up. This could even be a piece of toast with jam which my kids think is a dessert treat. They generally have apple slices on their tray at lunch which those that don't want the meal still have something to gnaw away on so anything I serve for "dessert" does not need to count in the meal plan. They have their choice of applesauce or yogurt and usually get a cookie such as a newton type along with it. The rationale here is two fold - inspires others to keep eating and means the treats are eaten with a meal and not on their own.

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  11. #10
    Euphoric ! Sandbox Sally's Avatar
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    I agree re: not leaving the table for an allotted time. Even my seven year old son (who is a food monster) will leave food at the table if there is something more exciting to do - then complains he is hungry half an hour later. Sitting down and calmly eating is not really a lot of fun for a toddler/preschooler. I think rules have to be in place on this one.

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