boy fussy eater child won't eat

The art of negotiating with a fussy eater

So my 4 year old Riley generally is a good eater, however all he asks for these days is sugar, sugar, sugar! He knows what foods have sugar in them too – they’re the ones that taste nice of course.

boy fussy eater child won't eat

This challenging day, Riley wouldn’t eat any lunch. Normally to go to in our house is a simple sandwich. This was not a simple day by any means. “No sandwich mum!” Welcome to fussy eater day.

He asked for grapes – I thought, it’s healthy, ok I’ll give him some grapes.

Riley then decided to help himself to a fruit stick….full of sugar, but an easy snack. I let this one go.

Then he asked me for custard – I said, “we really need to have some lunch”. The reply? I’ll have my custard, then I’ll have some lunch”. This is where it gets really tricky for us mums. How far do you push? How tired are you today? Do you let it slide, or be strict? I work from home quite a bit, so often juggling work around the boys, and it’s really hard and stressful. Some days I do let things go, because I really need to get some work done, and I just need them to settle down so I can concentrate. But I am also trying to be conscious of the sugar in so many packaged foods. The good vs. easy option is in my head in these situations!

So, I said ok to the custard – he won.

Of course, he wanted more custard! So then the negotiations started…

My answer was, “Yes you can have some more custard, but you need to decide what you what to have for lunch first”. He asked for a ‘bikkie’ for lunch…..hmm. Trying to trick me yet again. These kids are getting so clever with age. Then he acts silly, laughing and trying to be cute to divert my attention and give in. This is a regular tactic in my house.

My fussy eater end result

I made him a sandwich, put it on a plate with a biscuit. We talked and made a deal – he was allowed to have the biscuit,  BUT, he had to eat what was on his plate in a certain order. Sandwich first, biscuit second.

I find for Riley, if I give him options, he is so much happier than me just saying no. If he can SEE and VISUALISE the thing he wants on the plate, but we talk and make a deal about eating the healthy item first, and the yummy item is the reward. It’s like a “treasure” reward – they love pirates, so we often relate treasure to food. We do things like digging for grapes which are the “treasure” in the yoghurt. It makes it fun for them, a bit of a game, and the word “treasure” appeals to them and gets them excited. So why not give some of these tactics a try, and see how you go? Good luck!

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