Another successful trick we use to get our toddler to eat is what we refer to as the ‘display method’. This consists of preparing and arranging the food on the kitchen bench in full view of our little toddler sitting expectantly in her high chair, but not offering her anything.
This is especially effective if you are preparing the family meal at the same time as all good stay at home dads should.
Generally I will give her a small piece of something to keep her occupied (usually bread) whilst I concentrate on the preparation. Be careful not to spoil their appetite too much though.
The food I expect our toddler to eat will be prepared and lined up in an attractive manner but put to the side out of her reach but in full view.
I will even pop a piece or two into my own mouth but I will never mention to her that any of it is for her dinner. I just continue to prepare the meal. Invariably, before too long her
curiosity will get the better of her…
“Eat.” she says pointing to the prepared food.
“You want to eat some of that?” I say in mock surprise. “Are you sure?”
“Yes, yes, yes yes.” she says emphatically.
“Oh, I’m not sure. That is supposed to be for Daddy and Mummy. You might not like it.”
“Like, like, like!”
“It might be yucky?”
“Not, not, no yuck!”
After that I will relent and let her eat whatever it is that she now so desperately wants. This method has also been a great way to introduce new foods into her diet.
Anything prepared on the bench becomes fair game and we have managed to get her to try all sorts of things like mushrooms, beetroot and even chickpeas this way. Once she gets what she wants she will happily sit there and eat her fill with no more encouragement needed on my behalf.
I can’t say for sure whether it is true of all toddlers or just ours (maybe she is willful like her mum!) but she is much more likely to eat what she thinks we don’t want her too and visa versa. Regardless, it has certainly worked well for us and is definitely worth a try for any other parents out there who struggle getting their toddler to eat.
That sure looks good…