“Please. Just take one bite. One little bite.”
How many times have you uttered those words? How many times were you met with a “No!”? The more you beg, the more your child refuses. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Taking a bite is actually a much bigger demand than we may realize. Imagine somebody sitting in front of you with a food that doesn’t look at all appetizing, begging you to just take a bite. You likely wouldn’t want to do it.
Here are two tips for what to do instead:
1. Offer choices about how to try a new food: Do you want to touch it or try a lick of it? This still gives your child control of the situation but also doesn’t allow for a “No!” answer.
Be specific with your choices. Instead of open ended questions (“what do you want to try?”) give two very specific choices (“Do you want to try the turkey or cheese next?”)
2. Don’t wait for a bite before you praise your child: It’s easy to get stuck on wanting to see your child take a bite and swallow food. However, this is a big ask and can bring a lot of pressure into mealtime. If you allow an easier interaction such as touching or smelling a new food, you’ll be able to reward your child doing something new and keep mealtime happy! In a future post, we’ll talk about how to work your way up to bites.
Here are some other examples of choices you can provide to give your child control while still encouraging interactions with food: