Guide Seven: Growing out of picky eating

Presenter: Simone Emery


Hi, this is Simone Emery. I am one of the admins here at the parenting picky eaters Facebook group and I’m here with another learning unit for you. So today we’re talking about “when will children grow out of picky eating?” It’s a really common question for us. So, I want to really dive in and have a little bit of a chat about it.

As we’ve covered in the previous learning units, there are many reasons why a child will refuse foods and research shows that almost two thirds of children who are reported by parents as picky at an early age are no longer considered “picky” three years later.  Yet, it is really unhelpful to think of picky eating as a phase and we’ve got three reasons why.

The first reason is even though we know two thirds of children grow out of picky eating, if you are the parent of a child in the other third hearing that “it’s just a phase” is frankly … infuriating. Not only because it dismisses your concerns, but also because, in your case, it is actually inaccurate.

So picky eating is a very common phenomenon. Also, one third {of children not reporting to grow out of picky eating} actually represents a lot of children. And I am guessing you’re here because your child has the possibility of maybe falling into that category. So, to write picky eating off as “just a phase” (our second reason why we don’t like to say it) is that it belittles just how tough it is for parents {and families}. There is more research that shows the negative impact of picky eating has on parents. It impacts their mental health and their stress levels quite significantly. Especially, when we eat several times a day, every single day, there are multiple points in your day where this trigger or stressor is occurring. When we think of it as “just a phase”, we {don’t} acknowledge that it’s a stressor to you every single day.

The third reason we don’t like to consider it “just a phase” is that if something is just a phase, it technically implies that there is nothing you can do about it. But we know – even if your child has started to become picky there is still so much you can do to improve things.

It’s okay to advocate for the improvement of {your} stress and for your child. {You want} to make sure that what you are doing is going to be really helping them in the long term. So, if your child has suddenly started turning up their nose at foods, you have really found yourself in the right place.

We like to help parents with the here and now of picky eating as well as understanding why it is happening. The support group is all about picky eating and parenting during this time of your life. Yet, if you are wanting more assistance with implementing some of the strategies we talk about. The sort of strategies that are going to help you today and now on a daily basis. This is where you can head over to your feeding team. In our {membership’s} third module, we really dive into all the everyday strategies that you can use and support you there as well. In the meantime, enjoy this group!  We really hope that you can feel supported whilst you feel stressed by picky eating in this group. Also note that it’s not always helpful to think of {picky eating} as a phase or think of it as something that they will grow out of without your support.  You can do so much to have happy mealtimes now.

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