Parents only have themselves to blame for their child’s picky eating.
Whether it’s forcing your kid to finish his greens at the dinner table or restricting certain foods due to progressive diets, demanding children to eat or disallowing them to enjoy certain foods makes them picky eaters, a new study found.
The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, dived into the world of picky eating. While it’s common to think most children are extremely picky when it comes to eating, some children are pickier than others. Researchers looked at the eating habits of low-income children from the US from ages 4 to 9, where they asked parents to fill out questionnaires based on their child’s picky eating while accessing their own parenting habits. The study divided children into different groups based on their level of pickiness: low, medium, and high.
Around 15% of children were in the “high” picky-eating group, according to the study. The study also found that how children control their emotions played a role in how picky they choose their food. Children who had difficulty regulating their emotions ranked on the higher side of picky eating, which made those children more prone to mood swings.
In addition, parenting played a major role in a child’s decision-making process. Parents with strict protocols for what their children could and couldn’t eat resulted in a child being a picky eater.
For parents dealing with a picky eater, the Harvard Health Blog released tips on how to navigate your child’s reluctance to eat green beans. The post suggested having family meals to encourage the social aspect of eating, which brings everyone together. They also said to not force your child to eat, but encourage them to try new foods. If they want to eat it, great — but if not, let them be.
Another out-of-the-box theory involves having your child prepare their meals with you.
“Look at recipes together; be willing to try new and different things. Take them shopping with you. If you have the ability to grow some foods or spices, have your child be involved in that, too,” the blog reads.