“If only Alice would just taste it, I know she’d like it”
You’ve lovingly prepared a selection of delicious looking tasty treats. You’ve cut sandwiches into flowers, cheese into stars and the little plate of snacks is bursting with colour. You present it, and the response is less than encouraging. “Yuck!”, “I don’t like it!” as your child pushes the food as far away from them as they can.“But it’s so yummy!” you say. “Please, just take a bite” you plead, while trying to disguise the fact that you’ll be devastated if they don’t.
If your child’s constant food rejection is de-railing you, then it’s time to take a deep breath and step back.
When children are still learning about food, focussing solely on taste is counter-productive. Taste is only one of 5 (or more) senses that children use to learn about food, and their world. It’s also the most challenging when it comes to food.
Your child has Food Super Powers
Taking a step back doesn’t mean giving up on presenting new foods. You’ve got at least 4 other senses to work on. Be your child’s guide in a grand food adventure and delight in slow, careful, stress-free exploration of food.
EYES… for looking at the food. For noticing colour and shape, size and texture.
NOSE… for smelling. Does the food smell sweet or savoury, fishy or meaty? Does it have a big or a small smell? Your child’s senses may tell them something different to you.
HANDS… for touching food or using a utensil such as a fork, spoon or tongs (or another food) to touch it. What does the food feel like? Is it bumpy or smooth, rough or silky, wet or dry or slimy?
EARS… for listening to the sound food makes when we open it, crunch it, break it, chop it.
TONGUE & MOUTH… for tasting food and noticing what it feels like in the mouth.
Ditch your food agenda by teaching your child to use their super powers at their own pace. If your child isn’t ready to use a particular super power yet, they can watch you use yours. Eating a variety of food is a learned skill. Like any skill, some of us take to it like a duck to water while others need time, support and practice to master it.