OPINION: Feeding fussy kids is all about bribery
EVERY mum wants their child to eat a healthy, balanced diet.
But the reality is, kids are their own (little) people and when they discover this and start exercising their opinions - particularly on what they do and don't want to eat - getting a meal other than pasta with cheese and butter into them can be tricky.
When my son first started eating solids I'd spend a whole day each week lovingly making a variety of different vegetable purees using chicken stock I'd made from scratch.
And fruit purees using organic, locally sourced fruit.
And my own black rice cereal.
And then I'd pat myself on the back as he greedily gobbled them up.
As he grew older, I made spaghetti bolognese with grated carrot and zucchini, fried rice full of diced up vegetables and panko crumbed chicken breast.
Every meal he ate I made sure he was getting a protein, grains and vegetables.
And then he hit two-ish and discovered he was an individual and he didn't have to eat what I put in front of him.
He decided it was perfectly acceptable to eat just spaghetti with cheese and butter or a bowl of plain black rice (not too bad I know) or a punnet of strawberries or plate of kiwi fruit.
Pity I didn't.
I bought him a multi-vitamin because I was concerned he was no longer getting enough iron or minerals.
Now he's three-and-a-half and I find he'll smash a plate of salmon and vegetables one week but won't touch it the next.
Or he'll ask for a bowl of bolognese but then refuse to eat it.
But thankfully he's now at an age where bribery is king.
I'm sure some parenting expert out there will tell me that this isn't the right way to go about getting him to eat his meals but it works.
If he wants strawberries or kiwi fruit he has to eat his dinner to get it.
Or I buy a block of very dark chocolate (the type we like to eat) and tell him he can have a piece if he eats his dinner.
Who here eats their dinner knowing that there is a treat of something sweet afterwards? I know I do.
Something else I have found that works well with getting him to eat his food is involving him in the preparation of it.
I find if he helps me make the salad or sits at the bench while I crumb the chicken, he will eat it.
If he helps prepare the meal I always exclaim how he made it and how delicious it is. He beams proudly from his seat at the table and inhales his.
Each to their own but I found this didn't work for me.
What works for you?
Alexia Purcell is APN Australian Regional Media's social media editor.