Is your child a picky eater? If you said yes – the consolation is that you are not the only who thinks their child is a picky eater.
A study conducted by the Head of the Paediatrics department at NUH, Associate Professor Daniel Goh, revealed that picky eating among children in Singapore is a prevalent issue.
Picky eaters in Singapore
Across a period of 2 months, 407 parents and grandparents of children aged 1 to 10 were surveyed in Singapore. Almost half of them perceived their child to be a picky eater.
When presented with a list of 15 typical picky eating and feeding difficulty behaviours (e.g. throwing tantrums during mealtimes and taking a long time to finish up their meals), 49.6 per cent of respondents reported that the prevalence of picky eating or feeding difficulties occurred “all the time”.
The respondents also expressed concern over their child’s fussy eating habits, as they are worried that this behaviour could affect their child physically and mentally.
According to Prof Goh, the “causes of picky eating and its impact can be wide-ranging.” Picky eating should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Treatment and therapy for picky eaters
For parents, you can refer to these tips for dealing with picky eaters:
- Be a role model. Your child is more likely to eat food that he sees you enjoying. As far as possible, eat at the table together as a family.
- Involve your child when preparing food. You could take him to the supermarket to learn about fruit and vegetables, or give him tasks to do in the kitchen.
- Be creative. Expose the child to different food textures like grated cheddar on cauliflower.
- Have fixed meal and snack times and serve small, manageable portions. Praise the child if he finishes a portion.
- Reward the child with non-edible items like a sticker or a playground trip if he finishes a meal.
- Avoid snacks or drinks an hour before main meals.
- Let your child have fun interacting with food. For example, he could stamp shapes out of raw vegetables, or pretend to be a rabbit chewing on a carrot.
- Remove uneaten food without fuss. Be patient and calm during meals, as it may take many attempts before a child will taste a type of food that he is not familiar with.
Source: My Paper