One of the big questions parents often ask themselves is, is fussy eating normal?
It’s common that at around the age of 2 years most children will start to get fussy; it is a normal stage of development (called food neophobia). At this age children will suddenly start to refuse any new food on sight and push away food that they used to eat before if it looks slightly different. They start to move out of this stage at around 3 or 4 years of age.
Even though this is a normal stage, there are some things you can do to make things easier.
1. Allow your fussy child to eat the foods that they do like – their safe foods – appropriate growth is more important in the early years than a dietary range
2. Eat with your child at mealtimes. Even if they are not eating the food you want them to eat they are more likely to eat it if they see you eat it.
3. Encourage them to interact with foods
- Look, find and name foods in the supermarkets
- Grow foods at home
- Make more foods with your children
4. Messy play. Don’t wipe all the time! Fussy eaters are oversensitive to touch, so desensitize with messy play –in the garden, face paints, play doh
5. The reward for tasting. You can start up a game with other children, look at some very small pieces of a new food, if you put it in your mouth you get a sticker! Do this away from mealtimes and allow spitting out!