Advice for parents of picky eaters who make mealtime challenging

Connecticut Families

(WTNH) — In the Witherow home, playtime means music and singing songs but mealtime can be challenging.

Mom Meesha Chang says the only way she can get two-and-a-half year old daughter Lucia to eat most days is by bribing her with screen time.

“She has a little corner set up in the living area and she just sits there and we spoon feed her. It’s using it to distract her, I guess,” says Chang.

She says some nights feeding Lucia dinner can take up to three hours. “We do try to start dinner at the table then she’ll just wiggle out of the seat and run away, sometimes we just don’t have the energy,” she says.

Enter Nanny Connie who says Lucia’s eating issues have nothing to do with food. “It’s not about eating, it’s not about cooking, it’s about control. Right now, she’s in control. ,” she says. “We need to re-direct that control.”

She says, creating rules around mealtime is the key to success.

“You have to give her directions, you have to be consistent with it, repetition, repetition,” says Connie Simpson. “Then the TV has to go.”

So, screens are swapped out for books. The new rules for stress free suppers! “Then you start implementing staying in the chair, don’t leave the table until you’re finished,” says Simpson. “Now, you can go out to a restaurant. You’ve done all this by getting rid of the electronics and sitting down with your family.”

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