Guardian Childcare & Education

Tips for Supporting Fussy Eaters

17th September 2022

We like to think of our Centres as an extension of our families’ homes, and we are committed to supporting families both in and outside of their Centre. 

One of the most common conversations between our Educators and families is how to best support children who are fussy eaters! Our team members work with families to communicate any new food their child has been willing to try, and any that they particularly enjoy. By collaborating, we are able to extend learning opportunities with experiences that relate back to their home environments, and share information that can be used to support children at home.

Here we share some information and tested tips for supporting, educating and encouraging fussy eaters. Don’t be discouraged, it’s a work in progress – celebrate small milestones!

Our Top Tips for Educating and Supporting Fussy Eaters

1. Establish a starting point

Many children are fussy eaters and only eat a very narrow range of food. One child may drink milk throughout the day but not eat any food; another may only eat white bread and pasta grains. We can start off really small by introducing different foods to the children by holding it in their hands. The children can be invited to touch and hold the food themselves when they are ready.

Educators can orchestrate intentional learning experiences to explore smell, taste and touch, and ask the children what it might feel like in their mouths or in their hands. Over the course of many meal times, we work to build up their confidence to bring food to their lips to taste, and eventually eat.

2. Allow children to exercise autonomy

We believe that children deserve to have autonomy in what they do and don’t want to eat. Autonomy comes when a child can make a mature decision in relation to healthy eating and what they choose to put in their body. If a child hasn’t developed that maturity yet, we as adults need to put ourselves in charge and ensure they’re consuming a healthy diet.

When giving your child autonomy over their food, you can be smart about it! For example, if you know that your child eats pasta, and they could probably eat carrot and broccoli, put all three in a bowl and let them choose one thing they don’t want to eat. Over time, build up the variety of food items in their bowl and limit their options of what they don’t have to eat.

3. Pick your battles

No one has the time or energy to fight their child at every meal time and force them to eat. At Guardian, we share the success of a child’s eating with their family. If they’ve eaten a really good meal for lunch, we encourage their families to just enjoy dinner at home. 

We recommend picking one meal a day where you have time to sit with your child and talk them through the meal. This may mean breakfast, morning tea or lunch, as opposed to dinner when you have limited time. 

4. Open up the conversation around food

For our Preschool / Kindergarten children, we use strong language when it comes to communicating around mealtimes. We encourage the children to vocalise their feelings but also to try new things, as even our best eaters can sometimes be hesitant.

We often find children don’t want to eat something if it’s not their ‘favourite’. Educators talk about the importance of still eating something even if it’s not a child’s favourite food:

“It may not be your favourite food but you need to try all of the food on your plate.”

“It might not be your favourite but it helps your body grow and it’s good for you.”

“The more you eat something the more likely you are to like it, as our taste buds always change.”

5. Sync meals up with your child’s Centre

At Guardian, our Centres offer seasonal, rotating menus, which has been integral when building the children’s relationship with food. As each menu runs for four to six weeks, with each dish being served several times in the rotation, it helps the children build familiarity with a meal and know what to expect.

Serving a familiar meal also offers the opportunity to add new elements for children to explore. It’s less intimidating if there’s one new component of a dish, rather than an entirely new meal to try. If you haven’t already, request a copy of your Centre’s menu and prepare at home the dishes your child eats and enjoys at the Centre! 

6. Promote the joy of food

At every meal, we are mindful to promote the joy of food and encourage conversations around the table while we’re eating. Having light and fun discussions, such as sharing our favourite part of the morning, or what we’re going to do after the meal, helps take the pressure off actually eating. 

We try to avoid singling out a child who isn’t eating with their peers. Instead, our team focuses on individual intentional teaching time with that child at a separate time, or away from the group, so that they don’t connect meal times to being stressed.

To further explore food, we often organise self-led experimental cooking experiences, where the children can be inventive and cook what they like. No recipes required – just some ingredients, a bowl and utensils.

Eating delicious food with friends and family should be an enjoyable experience, and over time will become so by practicing these tips!

 

Find your Centre to Enrol


Or use your current location

Top Recent Articles


safety blog post image

Safety First: For Happy, Confident Learners

Understanding and Including Children with Autism

Child laughing with educator at Flinders Street

3 brilliant benefits of learning a second language as a child

Tips for Supporting Fussy Eaters

Listen. Respect. Believe. Keeping children safe.

Archives


2022

  • October 2022 (1)
  • September 2022 (7)
  • August 2022 (8)
  • July 2022 (9)
  • June 2022 (5)
  • May 2022 (8)
  • April 2022 (7)
  • March 2022 (1)
  • February 2022 (2)
  • January 2022 (1)
  • 2021

  • December 2021 (2)
  • November 2021 (2)
  • October 2021 (2)
  • August 2021 (1)
  • July 2021 (2)
  • June 2021 (2)
  • March 2021 (5)
  • February 2021 (2)
  • January 2021 (3)
  • 2020

  • December 2020 (5)
  • November 2020 (4)
  • October 2020 (4)
  • September 2020 (3)
  • June 2020 (1)
  • May 2020 (7)
  • April 2020 (18)
  • March 2020 (16)
  • February 2020 (14)
  • January 2020 (14)
  • 2019

  • December 2019 (11)
  • November 2019 (10)
  • October 2019 (15)
  • September 2019 (12)
  • August 2019 (17)
  • July 2019 (6)
  • June 2019 (3)
  • May 2019 (1)
  • April 2019 (1)
  • 2018

  • December 2018 (1)
  • November 2018 (2)
  • October 2018 (1)
  • September 2018 (1)
  • August 2018 (1)
  • July 2018 (2)
  • June 2018 (4)
  • May 2018 (5)
  • April 2018 (3)
  • March 2018 (1)
  • February 2018 (3)
  • January 2018 (6)
  • 2017

  • December 2017 (4)
  • November 2017 (8)
  • October 2017 (3)
  • September 2017 (6)
  • August 2017 (5)
  • July 2017 (6)
  • June 2017 (7)
  • May 2017 (8)
  • April 2017 (4)
  • March 2017 (6)
  • February 2017 (4)
  • January 2017 (2)
  • 2016

  • March 2016 (1)
  • February 2016 (1)
  • 2015

  • July 2015 (1)
  • Looking for the right Childcare Centre for your Family?

    Submit your details and a member of our Concierge Team will be in touch to discuss what you need and how we can help you experience something more than childcare.

    We'll be in touch soon.

    YOUR DETAILS

    *Mandatory Fields