How to Avoid Power Struggles With Picky Eaters

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“Picky” can be a useful word to describe a child who eats a limited variety of food. However, it can become problematic when children start to internalise the idea of pickiness. If a child has a fixed mindset that being a picky eater is a part of their identity and is how they are viewed by others, it makes it harder for them to change and start to explore a wider variety of foods.

Modelling and encouraging a growth mindset when it comes to eating can help empower your child, and allow them to accept that what they eat now doesn’t necessarily reflect what they will eat in the future. One of the most common fixed mindset phrases that children use is, “I don’t like that”. Here are some suggestions for rephrasing this into a growth mindset phrase:

  • “I don’t like it yet.”
  • “I’m still learning about it.”
  • “I’m not ready to eat it, but I’ll taste it.”
  • “I’m still deciding if I like it.”
  • “That food is a challenge for me right now.”

Helping your child see that their picky eating does not define them can be an important step in their journey towards a healthy, varied diet.

By Nicola Gregson