Day after day, parents around the country struggle with their kids over mealtime. Picky eating is common and can lead to problems including malnutrition, cavities, and much more for years to come. Researchers from the University of Delaware have put together a guide for parents trying to wade through this battle.
The problem goes deeper than love for sweets and hatred for vegetables; psychological elements tied to the early stages of a child’s development can play a big role in the mealtime experience. Kids often develop a sharp opposition to particular foods without an obvious reason. This behavior often stems from their growing independence in general. Bringing children to help with the shopping, letting them pick healthy foods like fruits and vegetables from the store, and assist in preparing them for meals can bring the child on board and help parents avoid frustration.
It isn’t rare for a kid to make a mess while eating. Not only does their motor coordination still need training wheels, but touching food with fingers is one way that children like to explore. So, go easy on them. Scolding or punishing the child draws a lot of attention to the situation and may actually lead to an increase in the behavior.
Meanwhile, some parents notice their children eating too much or too little; both can be troublesome. It’s important to monitor your child’s habits and ensure they’re receiving adequate nutrition. If they seem to be overweight, focus on slowing weight-gain rather than looking to shed pounds. It’s possible they’ll grow out of an overweight phase, but trying to lose weight at a young age might lead to nutritional deficiencies and stunted growth. As always, any specific diet or nutrition plan should be developed and followed under a doctor’s supervision, and regular pediatric checkups are essential.
These tips—along with many others—will help both new and experienced parents navigate the frustrating and often confusing topic of nutrition. The entire guide can be found here.More From: University of Delaware
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