[twitter]My 4 year old eats sushi. Rice. Pasta. Cheerios.
There are some variants in that list, but basically he’s a brown food kid. He doesnt do pizza, he won’t do sauce. His mild palate is good news in that he’s never had pop (doesnt want to try it) and doesn’t like candy (other than chocolate). He’ll eat carrots and cucumbers, but that’s about as far as the vegetable tasting goes.
So, the age old question in our house is “How do you get your kid to eat more veggies?”
MONKEY SEE MONKEY DO
In the spring, experts were saying the best way was to lead by example.
The report said children will eat vegetables if they see their parents eating them AND enjoying them.
If a child sees you eating vegetables with a smile on your face, they’ll be more likely to want to eat them. But if it looks like you’re choking them down, they’ll have even less interest in eating them.
STICK IT TO THEM
A new study out of University College London tested different methods to get kids to eat vegetables, and found that one worked MUCH better than the others: Bribing your kids with STICKERS.
The researchers found that when parents gave small stickers to three-and-four-year-old kids as rewards for eating TINY pieces of vegetables, over a few weeks, the kids actually started liking those vegetables.
How much is tiny? About the size of a child’s pinky fingernail. Baby steps.
Three months later, the kids who got stickers were more likely to be willing to eat more of their vegetables than kids in other test groups.
WHAT DOESNT WORK
The researchers also found that rewarding kids with food didn’t work. As in, “eat your broccoli and you’ll get ice cream.” Because it made the kids compare vegetables to dessert, and vegetables are ALWAYS going to lose that battle.
And giving your kids praise didn’t work either. As in, “Wow! You’re a great vegetable taster!” Because kids just don’t care about achieving higher status in the realm of vegetable tasting.