We thought we would do what would be a first of a series of a family tip for our families and our parents and anybody that’s watching us, really. Our first topic is supporting your picky eater. We all have or have experienced those children that kind of struggle to try their foods and what best way then to get some tips from Whiz Kidz Preschool Mesa themselves. And if Britney would like to tell us some of the tips or strategies that you guys do at your Mesa location.
Consistency and a routine so that the children have the same thing every single day. And we do serve family-style meals, which means everyone sits down together and each child takes turns serving food to their classmates, which adds the fun into it.
I feel like if children have a hand in it, they’ll be more willing to partake. And so each child takes turns serving each other and putting everything on their plate, and as well our teachers will sit down with the class and partake in eating with them.
This will encourage them to try new things. They see their classmates trying things, and most importantly they see their teacher eating with them. So most kids bond with their teachers first, so if they see their teachers eating, they’re more likely going to try something as well. And we just make it a fun environment where they don’t feel pressured.
We always encourage to try a taste of things first, and we play games and sing songs to try to encourage them to take a bite, and that usually helps because most of the time once they bite it and taste it, they usually like it. So we just kind of make it more of a fun environment and a family-style where we can do all together as a class, and that encourages all the kids to start to slowly try things. And once they realize the food tastes pretty good, because we cook great food…
At all of our centers, really. Once they realize the food is pretty good, they give it more of a chance more often. And most of our kids who have started off really picky, not even eating anything at all, have really expanded their palette a lot with us.
This really goes across the board with all of our three sites. The Scottsdale and the Phoenix location, the teachers, part of our curriculum is that fresh wholesome made foods and all of the techniques that Britney was mentioning, we do those techniques across each of the centers.
If you are a parent or a family that is struggling with getting your child to eat at home, talk to your classroom teacher, talk to one of the administrators, or like Britney, the director of the Preschool & child care in Mesa location, and we will be more than happy to provide you with some tips and do some more troubleshooting and keep an eye out as far as what are some foods that they are liking and trying with us. Because that’s one of the things that we often hear with parents, is how do you get them to eat? I can’t get them to eat at home.
So sharing those tips and strategies at home. One of the things that I wanted to before we let you guys go here, are some takeaways for what you can do at home. I know another balance to what happens at the center, at home perhaps exposing the child to actually partaking in the meal prepping process. That’s a big one.
Even if they can help you get the grocery items out of the refrigerator, washing the vegetables or the fruit, helping to somehow safely prepare some of the meal items and snacks. I don’t know if you have any suggestions for at home as a parent.
Well, that’s something I do with my son. He’s almost two, and he eats a lot better at school than he does at home, and we’ve been open to his palette since he was young, but they all get picky. And he has a little stool in our kitchen, and he has on a little apron, and he gets to come up with me and stir things in the pot.
I’m standing right there, and help me cut things up, and he tries to cut, but he loves, he actually tastes things as we’re cooking. And so once it gets to his plate, he’s not so hesitant to try it at home. And something that we also keep an eye on is snacking a lot throughout the day.
If we snack a lot, we’re not that hungry. So I know for dinner time, it’s our hardest time with him. So he’ll get an afternoon snack around 3:30, 4:00 when we come home, but then that’s it until dinner time. So making sure they’re actually hungry.
It’s a big thing. We’re all so busy in the evening. We’re stopping and running places, and your kids may be snacking a lot along the way, so just kind of make sure they’re ready for that meal. They’ll be a lot hungrier.
Additional Helpful Tips to Support Your Picky Eater from PBS Parents
- Earlier is Better
- Be Patient and Keep Trying
- Be a Role Model
- Don’t Restrict Certain Foods
- Make Healthy Foods Available
- Prepare Foods in Healthy Ways
- Make it Fun