Your kitchen… the most social and central part of your home. It’s where bellies are filled, memories are made and conversations take place. What is your child’s experience of the kitchen? Fearful, intimidating, one not to venture into?
This is the starting point for helping your picky eater. Believe it or not, we don’t start with food. There’s a baby-step that takes place before food. Before you expect your child to enjoy food, consider if he is enjoying the process.
A kitchen has to be a fun, inviting, safe and stress-free zone that your child wants to be a part of. Food comes later, once the ‘food zone’ is enjoyable and harmonious. Often, picky eating isn’t about food as much as it is about the food experience. The energy emitted by you, the parent, is received by your child.
Switch places with your child and imagine him seeing you in the kitchen, unpacking the groceries, prepping food, plating it- what would he see? Would it be care-free and relaxed or would it be over-stimulating? Would there be a feeling of anxiety and stress, rushing, panic and annoyance? Would you want to enter into that world if you were a child? Of course not, there’s clearly something to be concerned about- the safety net, Mom, is freaking out- something must be wrong, release the stress hormones.
Changing the Experience
Children look to us and learn how to react based on how we react. If you’re in a distressed state when you’re around food- your child will mirror you and do the same. You’re displaying a very clear non-verbal message: “this is fearful, I don’t want to be here, let’s not be here, it isn’t a safe zone”.
The relationship between you, your child and the kitchen needs to improve so that your child feels safe and learns to enjoy being around the food experience and sees it as a joyful space.
If you want some ideas for removing the stress and bringing some fun into the kitchen, with age-appropriate activities, grab your free PDF here:
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….And as much as I wish this beautiful kitchen was mine it isn’t…but the tile work is done by my love’s company, Zanro– so that’s gotta count for something, right?!
🎶 I’m dreaming of a white kitchen, just like the one in my old house 🎶