Can Fussy Eating Come And Go As Our Children Develop?
Fussy eating is something that affects a huge number of families. As a parent, it is one of the most challenging things to tackle because food and meal times are so entwined with family life and happiness. It can be incredibly frustrating when as parents you enjoy a whole range of different kinds of food but your child refuses to eat the majority of foods they are offered.
In truth there are many parents who will admit to adopting the very same weaning strategy with all of their children and yet one of them may be an incredibly fussy eater. It highlights the fact that in some cases, despite your best efforts, it can simply just happen.
The number one thing that parents want to know is whether their child will always be a fussy eater. They wonder if this is just a phase or if it represents their child’s relationship with food for the future also.
In some cases, parents notice that fussy eating can come and go. There are times where it is really intense and other times where it seems to be passing. It can feel a bit like an emotional roller coaster. So can fussy eating be a reality that simply comes and goes as our children develop?
In some cases, parents may notice that their children go through different phases of fussy eating and there can be a connection between those phases and developmental leaps. For example – if your toddler is going through a particularly intense period of teething they may seem less interested in the food they usually enjoy. As parents, we may perceive this as fussy eating when in reality it may simply be connected to the pain and discomfort that they cannot articulate.
The same can be said for emotional stages of development. Your child may experience a period of time where they feel anxious and worried about various things in the world. Much like with an adult, these phases can come with an aversion to food in general but as parents, we may assume our child has suddenly become a fussy eater and experience the stress that comes with that when in reality it may have just been a phase that would have passed shortly all by itself.
Quite a few parents notice a shift in eating behaviour when their child starts at preschool or junior school. In some cases, the change can be a positive one. Being around children who are eating a wide range of different lunch items and snacks can encourage your child to want to try new foods. On the contrary, it can cause some challenging issues. For example, some children refuse to eat in the family dining environment. They grow to associate meal-times as a social event with their friends. They want to eat all of their meals at school in their seat beside all their pals. Of course, this is not realistic as family meals happen in the home but it is a common issue for children of that age group.
In some cases, fussy eating can be directly connected to your child’s development. As they experience a leap or develop a new skill you may notice an obvious change in their attitude towards food. In a lot of cases these phases come and go by themselves and while it is difficult to remain calm and not overanalyse the situation it makes things easier in the long run.
Of course in other cases, fussy eating can be more of a long-term challenge but with the support of your family, GP and or PHN there is always light at the end of the tunnel and it is NOT a reflection of you as a parent. You are one of the thousands of parents in Ireland who are going through the very same thing with their child.
Written by Tracey Quinn staff writer at FFHQ who also blogs at www.loveofliving.ie.