For today's post, I would like to share with you all our tips in getting our kiddos to try new foods, do remember each child is different and what works with ours might not be the same for yours, but at least, you have some general ideas on what to do / try:
Start when they are young
When I say young, I mean, when they are still innocent and naive to know what is happening. Hahahaha... for example, around 8-9 months old we started our 1st child with oats. This is after the failed attempt of giving him rice (for rice porridge). Amazingly, our 1st child accepted oats with no issues. In fact, there was once a phase where our child could go on oats for all his meals day after day! Oats after oats, sometimes with raisins, sometimes banana slices, mango slices, chunks of chicken meat or fish, broccoli, cauliflower anything I can find, I just add them onto his oats. For our 2nd child, Alyson started taking oats around 2 years old, she's not very much into oats before that so I never continued trying until after she turned 2 years old and to my surprise, she can also take the oats plain as it is.
Show them yourself
Okay, I'm not really a good example in this especially when it comes to eating vegetables. I made sure I included them when our kids started solids but I myself don't take them unless I was forced to. Guilty as charged! Anyway, what I'm trying to say in this tip is, you want your kiddo to try new food? You show them by trying it yourself first. And make sure if it is also new to you, to keep your facial expression as positive and cheerful as you can. Never show them yucky, gross, ewww face as that will surely leave a bad impression to them on that food.
*** Left: Benjamin taking oats, Right: Alyson trying rice
Make it fun and exciting
I have done the aeroplane, train, rocket spaceship, anything you can think of... just hold the spoon with the food in it and enact an amazing journey or experience as you zoom closer to your child's mouth. You can make splashing, crashing, etc etc sounds. Anything as long as it sounds fun and exciting!
Find something your child can relate to with that food
As a parent, you would definitely know your child's likes and dislikes. Use that to your advantage!
For our 4.5 years old boy, he was never a fan of soup for the first 4 years of his life. After he turned 4 years old, we tried getting him to drink soup. One time, my MIL made this vegetable soup which was green in color and as our boy was crazy with Green Lantern and soldier stuff at this phase, we told Benjamin that it was a Green Lantern soup. It will make him healthy and strong and let his antibodies fight off viruses and bacterias if he drinks it. He tried and since then, was the biggest fan of soup. True story!
Gently remind them if you see other children taking the food
Some parents use this method, meaning peer pressure method. Let your child see other children eating the food and just gently let them know that other children are enjoying the food and maybe they want to give it a try too? Don't push or force if your child insist not to try though. You don't want to traumatise or give them a negative impression on that food.
Make it a competition or race
We have only recently tried this approach, which is to make it look like you are going to compete to eat the food with your child. As if that will be the last ever food left. Or in our case, we make it a big deal after our kiddo tried out the new food by sighing and 'complaining' loudly to them that we are going to have to fight to eat that food from now on especially since our kiddo tried the food and is okay with it. For example:
Me: Ben, come try this soup. It's very nice!
Me: Okay fine! Good also you don't want it, else I have to fight with you next time we have this soup. In that case, I won't have enough for myself!
Ben: No! I want to try!
Me: No, no, no! Better you don't try it! I don't want to fight with you!
Ben: NO! I want!
And then you 'reluctantly' gave them try some and when they really don't like it, you go 'Okay, nevermind at least you tried! Good job!' or if they really like it, you go 'Oh man! I'm going to have to fight with you next time already! Arghhh!!' and smiled cheekily along with them. Win-win!
With 3 kiddos in the family now, it is getting harder to comply with everyone's tastebuds whenever we have our meals. Of course, every now and then we do have those 'Arghh.. what-the-heck-just-go-with-the-flow' moments but do remember, this post is more on the approaches we used to introduce new foods to our kiddos.
So do you have any other tips to share?
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