You’ve all been there… That dreaded back and forth between your kid when you put something healthy (and yummy to you) on their plate and they turn their nose up while saying, “I don’t like it!”
As a dad, I used to struggle with this. “You’ll like it if you try it!” I always wanted to say, though I never could make myself actually say it.
After all, who am I to tell my kid what foods he’ll like if he’d just try them and what foods he won’t? I mean, I hate certain foods that most others love. Like Thai food. Bleh. I don’t know how anybody likes that stuff. And root beer. I mean… how anybody likes the taste of that crap is beyond me. Yet they put it in candies, and ice cream, and even gum.
And my kid will be the same. He’ll love certain foods, and other times he’s gonna prefer chewing on old gym clothes. So… I’ve had to figure out how to get past the stubborn and defiant side of his eating while getting him to ultimately eat the things that he actually will enjoy.
And the way I do it is simple.
Take avocados for example. The first time Noah saw me scoop one out, his eyes got big and he declared he’d have nothing to do with them.
“You know the rule, buddy.” I said. “One bite, and if you don’t like it you don’t have to eat any more.”
And he took a bite of avocado, and just as I figured, he claimed. “I don’t like it, Dad.”
Without another word, I looked at him, grabbed the rest of his avocado slice and downed it in one bite. “Your taste buds don’t like avocados yet, huh?”
“Well, that’s good for me cause I can eat yours!” I then devoured the rest of the avocado with unnatural amounts of pleasure exuding from me as I did.
For the next six months or so, he refused to touch anything that had any trace of avocado on it. He hated it, and his taste buds simply didn’t like it yet.
And then, that magic moment.
I was making myself a sandwich with guacamole on it and he reached out his finger. “Dad, I think I need to see if my taste buds like avocados yet.”
I told him to go ahead and see, but I hope they don’t because I want it all to myself. And with that, he dipped his finger in the guacamole, licked it off, and smiled. “Oh yeah, Dad. My taste buds definitely like avocado now.”
It took a little while, but my plan had worked like a charm. Instead of telling Noah how it should be, I let him want to experience avocados the same way I did… with great pleasure. Time did its thing and eventually he was able to taste it all on his own with the goal of making it work.
This is only one example. There have been SO many foods I’ve done this with, and so far I’m batting a thousand with it. Meal time is never a struggle the way it once was, and to some degree, the game is actually pretty fun.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing
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