It’s been a while since I last talked about fussy eating here on the blog, so I thought I’d share an update on how it’s going with Oscar now that he’s almost four.
In a nutshell, we still have a VERY fussy eater.
There are days where he’s better than others, where he’ll happily try something (like a sausage roll), but most of the time he completely refuses to even smell or hold a new food. Then there are the days he’ll avoid eating something that we know he enjoys, like pasta, or picks at it after it’s gone cold.
If you have a fussy eating toddler or preschooler you know how frustrating this journey can be. We’ll serve up a dinner of something familiar and it’ll be refused, there’ll be crocodile tears or it’ll be halfheartedly eaten. Offering a new food is met with “but I don’t like that!” or “I don’t want to eat that” before it’s even been smelled, held or tasted. It can get pretty demotivating if I’m honest. Especially so when his younger sister will eat anything and everything you put in front of her at just a year old (her favourite is strawberries).
We don’t have a real approach or strategy to trying to change our preschooler’s fussy eating habits – just offering similar foods and new foods every day alongside ones he enjoys, encouraging and eating meals together at dinner time. I’ve learned that Oscar likes to make a show of things and enjoys the attention that he often gets from not eating so I’m trying to stay calm, positive and reinforce good behaviours without it becoming a way to get our attention. We’ve tried other things too – like telling him the moths (he hates them, oddly) will pay him a visit if he doesn’t try his dinner. It just doesn’t seem to work. Maybe there’s a technique we should be trying next – do you have any ideas?
Despite not having a huge breakthrough on the fussy eating front we have had a few victories. After trying it a few times Oscar now LOVES pizza and pasta (if it’s relatively plain, or in a bolognaise sauce) so that’s becoming a go-to for dinner times during the week. He’s also tried a few new foods after agreeing that they smell ‘yummy’, like sausage roll and a few different types of crisps. He’s enjoyed BBQ flavour crackers and loves most things bread and pastry related like brioche, tortillas, toast and the outside of a quiche. We’re yet to make any progress when it comes to fresh fruit and veg but he really loves dried strawberries – won’t touch the fresh ones though. He still really loves yoghurt, so that’s one of our favourite treats for if he eats all his dinner.
As we’re attempting potty training at the moment too (maybe I’ll write about that another day, it’s not going so well!) we’re doing a sticker reward chart. For every new food tried, or every time a full meal is eaten, Oscar can choose a new star for his chart. Every time we reach a row of five stars it’s time for a treat – usually a new Hot Wheels car. I think this motivates him sometimes but it’s not hugely effective, especially when it comes to potty training.
I’m hoping that with time and some more support (his nursery have recommended talking to a specialist about his behaviour, and I think the food issues might be linked) he’ll find his way and become less fussy. I’d love him to really enjoy food and take an interest in it, so hopefully it’s something that will come with time.
If you have a fussy eater at home how are they getting along? Have you found any strategies that work for you? I’d love to know!