Many children don’t like trying new foods, but it’s normal a childhood development stage called neophobia which makes children develop a fear of new things, in this case, food.
Children hate trying new foods, this happens between the age of 2-6 years. Also, children who were previously eating quite well may suddenly become picky, rejecting new food including the familiar ones they used to enjoy eating.
Don’t give up on your picky eater yet Mamalette! A study carried out by psychologists at the University of Reading found that exposing children to pictures of fruits and vegetable could be the key to encouraging preschoolers to try new foods.
They did this by showing the children books and images of fruits they aren’t familiar with, then the toddlers took part in ‘a willingness to taste test’ and most of the children were interested in tasting unfamiliar foods after they’ve seen pictures of them in books.
You don’t have to rely on showing your children pictures of foods only, here are other ways to encourage your child to try new foods;
1. Don’t stop trying
Don’t expect your child to like the food after trying it only once, give it a few more attempts. The more you introduce the new food, the more they’ll become familiar with it. Give them a small portion of the food for a start alongside their favourite food, then encourage them to take a small bite.
2. Encourage but don’t pressurise
Do not pressurise them! You can try to encourage your child to eat a new food, but do not force them to do so. Instead softly applause their effort to try and if they end up not liking it, accept defeat and try again some other time.
3. Give them a choice
Fruits should be eaten at least twice a day, so make a bowl of fruits available with a variety of fruits they’ll get used to seeing different fruits, then allow them to choose the one that appeals to them (if they don’t like a food, let them try another new one). When you shop for groceries with your child at a supermarket, let your child choose a new fruit or vegetables, then talk about the fruit’s function….Anything to get them interested in it.
4. Set a good example
If you’re a picky eater, your child will feel it’s okay to discard some food and eat others. So set a good example, enjoy your every meal and talk about how much you do. Then encourage your child to try it and see for himself.
5. Get children involved
Even if it’s picking this and that for you, let your child participate in the cooking of new foods this will make them more ready to eat the food.
On a final note, I’ll say try serving new foods the same way you serve the other foods they love, if they like mashed potatoes, then mash their beans too. That way they can be encouraged to eat more because it looks familiar.