Make mealtimes a positive experience for everyone
Helping your child to think positively about eating and mealtimes
Make mealtimes fun and sociable. Enjoy eating with your child and model a non-fussy relationship with food. Research shows that parents’ eating habits can have a big influence on those of their children.
Limit mealtimes to 20-30 minutes so your child is responsible for eating during this time period. A shorter mealtime may be easier for them to tolerate and reduce the whole family’s stress.
Give small portions if your child is a fussy eater, so as not to overwhelm them.
Try not to get stressed, and where possible, do not threaten or bribe your child if they refuse to try a new food, as this can turn mealtimes into a power struggle. An important developmental lesson for children is to eat in response to internal body hunger cues. If parents become stressed with their child, the child may instead learn to eat for external reasons, which can teach them that even if they are full, uncomfortable or ill, they should eat.
Be realistic about the time spent making meals. Avoid spending too long on this in order to reduce your stress and frustration levels if food does not get eaten.