You all know I want my kids to eventually have some degree of sophistication when it comes to eating, and nothing shouts bad manners louder than someone who turns his or her nose up at something served for dinner (Tripe and sweet breads, of course, being the obvious exceptions to this. I believe those and other similar cuisine entitles the one served to get up and run as far away from the dinner table as possible).
My daughter is about as picky as they come. She won’t eat pasta. Ever. This includes noodles of all kinds and in all cuisines.
So here is a list of techniques, suggestions, philosophies, etc. that I try to use. I’m not uber consistent, so maybe by writing it down, I’ll start to be better about the whole thing, and one day my three little lovelies will be as unpicky as I am.
1. Be as consistent as you can. This is sometimes very hard, as life is insane for everyone. But if at all possible, try to serve meals at the same time every day. My grandmother used to actually serve the same meals every week: spaghetti on Wednesday, franks and beans on Saturday (unless it was summer, then she served crab), some sort of roast on Sunday, etc.
2. Don’t force anything on them. I think this may actually be the reason my 6-year-old still won’t eat pasta. I may or may not have possibly made her eat some once. Maybe. Either way, I learned it isn’t such a good idea. The best thing to do is just put out the meal and say, “This is what I have made. You may choose to eat it, or you may choose not to eat it, but I am not making anything else. Out next meal will be tomorrow morning at 7:00.”
3. Parents decide when and what to serve, children decide if and how much they will eat. That line, or something close to it, came from a book I read in college with a title like How to Keep Your Kid from Getting Fat (I tried finding it on amazon, and couldn’t, but it was something like that). If you consistently follow this rule, the power struggle should eventually go away.