x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Table manners for parents

Is your child a picky eater? Careful what you say to them during mealtimes — you might actually be contributing to the problem. Here’s what to say, and what to avoid.

What you should do: Don’t highlight picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience. iStockphoto.com
What you should do: Don’t highlight picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience. iStockphoto.com

Is your child a picky eater? Careful what you say to them during mealtimes – you might actually be contributing to the problem. Here’s what to say and what to avoid:

Avoid “Your sister is eating it, why don’t you?”

Translation Your sister is a better eater than you.

What you should say “I know you’ll get there, sweetie. It takes time to learn to like a new food.”

Avoid “You used to like this – you are so picky.”

Translation Maybe you won’t grow out of your

pickiness.

What you should do Don’t highlight picky eating. Instead, make eating an enjoyable experience.

Avoid “For the last time, no, you cannot have ice cream.”

Translation You’re never getting ice cream again.

What you should say “We are not having ice cream now because lunch is a half-hour away. We’ll have some one day this week for dessert.”

Avoid “You didn’t eat enough. Take a few more bites and then you can leave the table.”

Translation Mom or dad or empty plate (external signals) are a better judge of when I’m done eating.

What you should say “Make sure you’ve got enough to eat because the next meal won’t be until breakfast (or lunch, dinner, snack time).”

Avoid “If you eat some of your veggies, you can have dessert.”

Translation I can’t wait until the day I don’t have to eat my veggies and go straight to dessert.

What you should do Experiment with different

vegetables and recipes.