My 6 year old daughter is a very picky eater. She only likes chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. She refuses to eat any vegetables except corn. I have tried making her sit at the table until she eats, but she is really stubborn and can hold out for hours! I always give up because I want to do something else with my life. I know that she needs to eat healthy foods, but I don’t know how to talk her into it. We have tried sticker charts when she eats new foods, but after she gets the prize, she always goes back to her staples. Help!
You are right that your daughter needs to eat a balanced diet to be healthy. You are also correct in assuming that you(an adult) know better than a six year old what exactly a balanced diet is. Here is a very simple way to solve this problem.
At dinner tomorrow night, take your child’s plate and give her one tiny bite of macaroni and cheese, 1/4 of a chicken nugget, 6-7 kernels of corn, and one tiny bite of a food that she would normally not eat, for example, one green bean. Tell her that she must eat everything on her plate, and then she can have more of any of the foods. In other words, if she eats the 5 bites on her plate (including the green bean), she can have as much macaroni or corn or nuggets as she wants.
If she cleans her plate, give her seconds of whatever she wants.
If she chooses not to clean her plate, she gets no more food (including snacks) that night. Don’t make a big deal. Just tell her cheerfully that she will surely eat a good breakfast the next day. Cover her plate, put it in the fridge, and heat it up for breakfast!
The next night at dinner, do the same thing, but make the bites a little larger. Still only 1-2 bites of each food, but maybe tonight there are 3 green beans. Again, once she eats this , she can have more of whatever else she wants.
Within a week, she should be eating normal portions of all the foods on her plate. If she balks or asks for something that you have not prepared, just remind her that everyone in the house eats the same dinner.
End of the picky eater problem!