Think about times that make you feel good. We all tend to avoid negative feelings. Many times, we are upset when we are not in control of a situation. We are fearful and stressed when we lose control. Being in control depends on the child/person and the situation yet, most times we want to be able to make our own choices and feel good at the time of those choices. Mealtimes can turn into opportunities to manipulate and control the situation. It could be a time to exercise independence if the child does not have enough options to be independent throughout the day. Your child may be getting a lot of attention yet, it is attention that does not allow for independence and activities that elicit pride in oneself. Whether your child is in a preschool environment or home environment, you want to create learning opportunities and activities when achievements are accomplished. Mealtimes should be relaxing, fun, and enjoyable times with foods that are both healthy and tasty. They should not evolve into stressful situations where gaining control becomes the goal. In addition, unless your child has an eating disorder that must be addressed with a physician, you need to teach your child how to enjoy healthy foods. Healthy foods like tasty fruits, vegetables, and proteins nourish the body and subsequently the body ‘feels good’ when eating them. We may reason that eating pizza or chicken nuggets every day is nutritional enough if your picky child eats. Eating a balanced meal with all the healthy food groups is what truly develops a healthy body, and a healthy body feels good for every age. Stay strong, ensure emotionally safe creative learning environments, give your child healthy food choices, and remember that not everyone needs the same amount of food portions to thrive. Your child will eat and learn to enjoy mealtime as you develop his/her independence and pride.

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