Visiting a restaurant with your family should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. However, if any of your children are picky eaters, it can prove to be stressful and frustrating for both the kids and the parents alike.
Here are a couple of ideas for parents to deal with picky eaters
Parents need to plan ahead with menu ideas for picky eaters
One of the best ways for parents to reduce the chances of your child refusing to eat anything or picking at their food when dining out is checking the menu of the restaurant you are planning to visit beforehand. Nearly all restaurants have a website, and most will have their menus uploaded so you can check to see if they have a specific one for children or if there is a particular food that your child likes available. You could even get your child to look through the menu in advance to choose something and then pretend that the chef is going to make it especially for them when you arrive. The idea behind this is the picky eater thinks they have chosen to eat rather than it being forced upon them by their parents.
How to deal with the battle of wills between parents and picky eaters
Most children hate being forced by their parents to do anything. Whether it is to tidy up their toys or get ready for bed, they will resist because, well that’s what kids do! If you are in a restaurant, there is little to be gained by forcing your child to eat what is in front of them. All that happens then is it becomes a battle of wills, and regardless of who wins if indeed there is a winner, both of you are going to be all the worse for the experience. Stay relaxed, don’t force them to eat, simply eat your meal and if they start eating praise them.
Parents should reward picky eaters
When you are eating out with a picky eater, try to make the eating of their food into a game with prizes in such a way that they forget the fact they are eating and they are now focused on the reward. Ideas such as small treats or a special dessert can work, or if they have done well, extra TV time or even a new toy. It must not be that EVERY time your picky eater eats they get something, as that could become very expensive for you. On other occasions praising them and letting them know you love them, especially when they eat well, can often be reward enough.