by Bec Slack February 22, 2019

If your kids struggle to stomach their greens, you’re not alone. 

Children commonly encounter eating issues early in life, with most heading for the cookie jar over the fruit basket when hunger (or boredom) strikes. If your toddler or pre-schooler is showing signs of being a fussy eater, pretend play can be a powerful tool to help them overcome their culinary aversions. 


Establish healthy habits

The more familiar certain foods become, the more likely your kids are to eat them. It can take multiple tries for a child to develop a positive association with certain foods, so be patient and persistent if your fussy eaters don’t want to cooperate at first.

A great way to increase familiarity with healthy foods is to use wooden toys such as fruit cutting puzzles, grocery bags and salad sets with recipe cards. By getting the kids to engage with toys that show fruit and veggies as an essential part of play time, they’ll be more likely to try these foods in their real form on the dinner plate!

We have many food toys here to help begin to introduce your child to good food choices.

Reinforce positive behaviour 

If dinner time typically ends in tears, look for ways to reward the behaviour you want your children to display. Rather than punish the kids for refusing to eat their meal, look for creative ways to use toys and puzzles as an incentive to encourage the family to clean their plates.

Need a reward chart to track behaviour and reward consistent positivity? We have some great reward charts here.

When the kids gather around the table, turn their distaste for veggies and healthy foods into a challenge to be conquered! Set clear rules from the beginning of dinner time, such as ‘finishing all your pieces of broccoli before leaving the table’ and make the experience fun and positive with the reward of imaginative play time afterwards using wooden toys and puzzles.

Make meal time exciting

Wooden recipe sets and toys are a fantastic way to spark a love for food and cooking in young children. Give your kids the opportunity to engage with a variety of meal options using wooden recipe sets to get them excited about preparing healthy foods. Chances are, when they are served these healthy dishes they’ll be much more likely to want to take a bite.

Involve your child in decisions and preparation of meals

Another way to ensure your child is include them in the meal prep! If they are too little to use a knife, give them a wooden toy

 

Bec Slack
Bec Slack


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