Do you have a picky eater in your home? Do any of these statements remind you of your preschooler?
- "Michael won't eat anything green, just because of the color."
- "Ebony will only eat peanut butter sandwiches!"
- "Maria doesn't sit still at the table. She can't seem to pay attention long enough to eat a meal!"
You’re not alone. Picky eating is a typical behavior for many preschoolers. It’s simply another step in the process of growing up and becoming independent. As long as your preschooler is healthy, growing normally, and has plenty of energy, he or she is most likely getting needed nutrients.
Many children will show one or more of the following behaviors during the preschool years. In most cases, these will go away with time.
- Your child may refuse a food based on a certain color or texture. For example, he or she could refuse foods that are red or green, contain seeds, or are squishy.
- For a period of time, your preschooler may only eat a certain type of food. Your child may choose 1 or 2 foods he or she likes and refuse to eat anything else.
- Sometimes your child may waste time at the table and seem interested in doing anything but eating.
- Your child may be unwilling to try new foods, especially fruits and vegetables. It is normal for your preschooler to prefer familiar foods and be afraid to try new things.
Having your preschooler help you in the kitchen is a good way to get your child to try new foods. Kids feel good about doing something “grown-up.” Give them small jobs to do. Praise their efforts. Children are much less likely to reject foods that they helped make.