How can I deal with my daughter being a picky eater?

I have tried making it fun. I have tried punishment. She has gone to bed hungry without dinner. She makes herself throw up instead of eat. She would rather go to bed than eat. She is getting smarter and now realizes that if she throws up at daycare she gets to go home. Or she dont gotta eat her food.I am running out of ideas.Any suggestions

Answer #1

How old is she?

Answer #2

she is almost 4

Answer #3

Hmm, well, maybe you should keep her in her high chair and give a little bit of the food she doesn’t like without letting her see what it is. Try making it look different.. try to blindfold her or anything but don’t let her see.. Then make her try it telling her its a candy or a food she likes to eat that you cooked in a new way.. That usually works.. Or you could firmly ask her to eat the food and tell her you would strap her to her high chair the entire time if she didn’t eat or threw up.. Wait does she understand whatever you say? (sorry I forget at what age children learn to talk and stuff) in my country, it’s legal to give physical punishment (not beat really bad but a slap and stuff are ok) so I’ve seen many people force their kids to eat the stuff so yeah..

Answer #4

What does she like to eat?

Answer #5

My daughter was very fussy that age too. She is nearly five now. I cut out all snacks and gave her three square meals a day. If she didnt eat what was in front of her I wouldnt offer anything else. I told her gently she wasnt getting anything until the next meal so asked if she was sure she didnt want anything now. It seems harsh but it worked. She eats almost anything (with some persuasion) now. It took a few weeks for her to finally sit down and eat all three meals with no complaints. Ive since reintroduced snacks successfully. Your daughter is young and it might just be a phase, but I wanted mine to have a healthy attitude to food and not think it was ok to eat whenever she felt like it. Im less shouty now too.

Answer #6

I think slapping a child to get them yo eat might make them dread mealtimes…..dont you?

Answer #7

Haha yeah.. No I didn’t mean slapping or stuff.. Lol no one should ever do that.. I meant that since it was allowed here, the people sometimes act like they are gonna punish the child And finally the child eats usually later liking the taste of the food.. :P

Answer #8

That’s a good way:)

Answer #9

well i have tried punishment. it doesnt work. she just continues to make herself throw up and cry…i sent her to bed. I have tried makin fun things outts the food. nothing works

Answer #10

Pizza and chips pretty much. She likes some vegies. some fuits. But like last night i made her a burrito with cheese. well she has eaten it before. the first bite and she sat there with it in her mouth. when i tell her to eat she starts crying then she starts gaging and then throw up. If it was a pizza in front of her she would have eaten it. I told her its pizza eat it. she isnt dumb lol. she knows

Answer #11

I have done that too. she eats daycare breakfast and lunch (sometimes) she is fine with her dad. I think he lets her eat whatever she wants… I guess i will just have to send her to bed everytime. no desert. no tv. nothin

Answer #12

Hmm, maybe If you eat a bit of the food she dislikes in front of her to show her that it isn’t foul tasting, she might have it.. Or you can put a little of the food she doesn’t like in a bowl or something besides her favourite food and tell her that for every one gulp of the food she dislikes, she would get two gulps of the food she lives:) that’s what my mom would do to me.. I certainly gave in :P soon you start increasing the amount of bad tasting food like 2 gulps of this and 3 gulps of that and then soon, she will get used to the food probably:) it’s gonna be hard though.

Answer #13

They are so clever arnt they. A key thing for us was my reaction. She would gauge her behaviour on my responses to her. Stay calm and dont show weakness, they can smell fear.

Answer #14

If she eats at daycare and with her dad then maybe she is reacting to you. Im not saying its your fault or anything, god knows mine plays up a special kind of hell reserved just for me sometimes. But maybe if you change your behaviour at mealtimes (good or bad) then she will change hers. Persistance and patience, , mums need bucketfulls delivered every day.

Answer #15

I can try that. Just such a hassle to kiss her butt lol

Answer #16

Yea i do need to be more patient with her. But im not gonna kiss her butt. lol. Imma just lay a rule down. If she doesnt eat her dinner she goes to bed without nothin.

Answer #17

Thanks this helped. I just get frustrated so much with her sometimes. even i start crying lol

Answer #18

Something my mum did with both me and my little sister since we were both tiny was to involve us with cooking. When she was making dinner she would get us to stir or chop or fetch or sprinkle, it meant we knew exactly what we were eating and we got a sense of pride knowing that we made somthing and that made us want to eat it. She also made sure we knew exactly where our food came from. You could set her up with a tomato plant and get her to take care of it, or you could pot up some herbs and make her understand that they are her responsibility. I do a lot of babysitting for various children and i’ve found that most kids, when they’ve done somthing, made somthing whatever are always really proud of it and therefore will want to show it off, if you were to help her make say fruit salad, she would want you to eat a bit so that she could “bask in your praise” as it were, but if you say you aren’t sure and get her to eat a bit first then that might encourage her a bit. Sorry for the ramble, hope it helps :)

Answer #19

I know honey, beleive me. It does get better the older they get. Specially being around other kids who arnt so picky. I invite kids over to dinner so I can praise their eating in front of my daughter. Evil manipulator mum or caring assertive parent: its a fine line.

Answer #20

haha yea… i guess we just gotta keep on trying. eventually she will grow outta it

Answer #21

Brilliant advice.

Answer #22

Sounds like a good plan. Anything is worth a try. Thanks :) I dunno about her growing her own plants. she is to young still. it would end up being my chore haha. I would love to if i didnt work tho. But the helpin cook may work. she is always in there while i do. she would like that

Answer #23

I think i will invite some of her friends over one night haha. She seems to eat better when she is around other people. Its just me she torments :/ lol

Answer #24

I remember being so happy because she stood me on top of a chair with a teatowel wrapped around my waist (i was too small for an apron) with a wooden spoon stirring the pasta. I think a lot of the time when kids don’t want to eat it’s because a part of them has no idea what’s being shoved down their throat, if she understands what’s happening she might co-operate more

Answer #25

I will try that tonight :) we are having baked chicken with baked potatoes and vegies in cheese sauce. I can find something for her to do.

Answer #26

You need to put yourself in your daughter’s shoes. What’s in it for her? Your description sounds like she is manipulative (and yes, 4 year-olds can be manipulative). She knows you want something so she knows she has power over you. Whether she trains you to do as she wishes or you train her to do as you wish depends on who has the strongest will. While you do have to choose your battles every battle you loose will only embolden her. You don’t want her to learn she can get her way at 4 because imagine what she might try when she is 14. Instead of making a big fuss over her not eating just roll with it. Say, “gee if you aren’t going to eat that can I have it? I really like it” and eat it. This way she gets nothing out her behavior. Every time she makes herself throw up put her to bed with no TV because when she is sick she needs her rest.

Answer #27

I agree. I will have to not make a big deal outta it. So she doesnt think she is getting her way. And sick kids dont get to play and have fun either.

Answer #28

This works soooo well. It’s how I got my little brother to eat.

Answer #29

This definitely works haha. My mum always says “when you make it yourself, it always tastes better”

Answer #30

Great!! thanks

Answer #31

I hope this won’t sound harsh, because I don’t mean it to be, but it sounds to me like you are turning food from a source of sensory pleasure, connection, and sustenance (both physical and emotional) into an occasion for conflict and a symbol of ongoing power struggle between you and your daughter. I don’t think it has to be.

Spatch’s and Amy’s (Fairygirl’s) suggestions to let your daughter help with food prep, and to invite her friends over to eat with her, sound like great ideas to try. But I think the most important thing is to take Spatch’s excellent advice to feed your daughter three full meals (with no sugary or other unhealthy foods included), and let her decide, with your gentle reminder and encouragement, which foods and how much of them to eat or leave behind.

There is no reason for you to get all bent out of shape (frustrated, angry, solicitous, afraid for her health, etc.) over what your daughter does or doesn’t eat. There is especially no reason for you to coddle her, nor to punish her in any way (by sending her to bed early, depriving her of dessert or of TV, etc.). All you have to do is provide plenty of good food and let her make her own choices. If she throws a tantrum, just let it be, clean up her vomit in a businesslike manner, and let her see that you remain unperturbed and unaffected. It’s best if you can persuade her dad to join you in this “project,” but even if it’s just you, she will learn to accommodate to the new system soon enough.

Answer #32

I have tried this. I am not gonna cook a bunch of different things just cuz she is picky. i cook dinner and if she dont eat then she dont eat. I have tried not punishing her, not makin a big deal outta it, making it fun for her, she still wont eat unless its junk. Im not gonna feed her junk all the time. She will just have to eat what i make or dont. If she does throw up then she will go to bed becuz this means she is sick. She gets outta daycare becuz she throws up. So no fun for her, no play time, no field trips. I cant allow her to act this way without making it known that its not cool.

Answer #33

This is what my mom always said: You eat what’s on the table or you eat nothing at all! I wasn’t given the choice to be a picky eater :)

and it’s always good to not demonstrate picky eating yourself. For example, my friend’s mom hates seafood so my friend hates seafood as well and will not under any circumstances eat it.

Answer #34

Angel, I think your misreading our advice. No one suggested that you cook a bunch of different things, or that you feed her junk. Making it fun for her is great if it works, but not essential. The point is to combine exactly what you said - “eat what I make or don’t” - with a non-punitive attitude. In other words, “don’t” is just as cool as “eat what I make.” Why? Because it can’t last very long. Why do you feel you “cant allow her to act this way”? That’s what changes the whole thing from food to power struggle.

Answer #35

Becuz i want her to grow up well mannered. I have tried to be cool with her and if she dont eat then i dont make a big deal outta it and she just doesn’t eat. After a while if doin that i get frustrated . I no i shouldn’t but i cant help it

Answer #36

After how long a while? She’s not going to keep refusing to eat anything you give her for very long. Ok, I understand how compelling your frustration can feel. But who do you think is more capable of deciding to act differently and then doing so, you or her? I bet there are other things in your life, too, that you “can’t help” but that you struggle with anyway because you know G!d wants different from you and can help you change what you, by yourself, cannot. Meanwhile, as long as you keep taking your frustration out on her, you’re not teaching her to be well mannered; you’re just teaching her to take out her frustrations on others.

Answer #37

Its a very frustrating thing and probably not that helpful to over analize what you have been doing. Instead focus on all the brilliant ideas offered here and have a light heart (as much a possible) at mealtimes. You can do it, if me and my girl can, you can too. Keep us posted and best of luck. Xx

Answer #38

I have thank you :) she helped me cook last night and she ate a lot of it. I was very proud of her. So she got a pudding cup and all. She seemed happy that i was happy bout it :)

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