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How to Make Meals with My 4-year-old more bearable...

My four-year-old son is a pseudo-picky eater. Pseudo- because the pickiness seems to vary from day to day. Tonight he might love pickles... but tomorrow he may throw a tantrum when they appear on the table. New things are an almost instant no-no. My fiance thinks it's important to teach him to try new things. I worry that I am picking a silly battle and that 4-year-olds are just naturally finicky. I am not stuck on this idea... The bottom line is... it comes to arguments. This is a child who seems to enjoy arguing. If I tell him the sky is cloudy, he'll look up to a cloud and tell me it's not. It's becoming a constant thing. But it really comes to a head at meal time... It's also something he does more with his father while I am at work. I know the arguing is the great issue here. I feel like I've tried so many things... but none with success. Looking for new and old ideas to implement...

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Asked by at 11:57 PM on Mar. 11, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 2 (10 Credits)
Answers (4)
  • make trying new things fun. if he looks at the new item on his plate with disgust (or whatever he does when he sees something new on his plate) ask him if he's going to try his Mars Alien tentacles or his Venus Volcanic mush. or whatever. it worked with my son when he first started trying to be picky.
    another thing i do is if he says "what's this?" i say "eat it and then i will tell you". i do this because i know if i say "it's squash" he'll say "i don't like squash". and then the battle is on.

    Also, IMO it is worth the battle. You are teaching him his eating habits now. If you don't try to get him to eat new and interesting things now you will most likely have a much bigger problem later on.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 12:03 AM on Mar. 12, 2010

  • first, stop catering to his picky eating. if you know at pne point that he ate whatever you offer, then make him eat or go hungry. put your foot down, you are the parent.
    about the sky thing, is he saying it isnt cloudy so you can take him outside? I mean if its just a random arguement, then explain to him that it is cloudy, and leave it at that. there is no reason to explain yourself to a 4 yr old. If its because he wants to go to the park, then he's trying to get you to take him. If there is no chance of rain, just take him. maybe he needs more time with you.

    Answer by mrsjosey1018200 at 12:06 AM on Mar. 12, 2010

  • We use the 3 bite rule. You must try 3 bites of what is on your plate; if you don't like it, you fix yourself peanut butter and honey on whole grain toast with a kiwi or apple.

    Answer by rkoloms at 5:26 AM on Mar. 12, 2010

  • He can't enjoy arguing if you refuse to argue with him. Personally, I choose NOT to argue over meals. I usually snooker DS into eating veggies etc through the techniques used in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook, although I'm not so sure that will necessarily help your issue. I usually "hide" some veggies, but present some visible ones so he still has a choice in the matter. I think your son is just vying for control, regardless of the issue. Maybe give him some room to make some choices and then the rest won't be such a struggle.

    Answer by JawgaMom1 at 12:55 PM on Mar. 12, 2010

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