Lisa and I get a lot of calls from listeners to More2Life Radio who are being driven crazy by their little fussy eaters. It’s an emotional issue for parents. The good news is that when parents can remain calm and supportive over time, most children do more than grow out of it. This latest study offers three, simple practical steps that can give parents a sane guide for dealing with this vexing issue.
Introducing the ‘three Rs’ — Repetition, Role Modelling and Rewards — at meal times could help parents to get their children to eat, and even like, new vegetables, according to new research from Aston and Loughborough Universities. By repeatedly exposing a child to a certain food (‘repetition’), eating it first and show them how tasty it is (‘role modelling’) and praising them for trying it (‘rewards’), a parent can help positively change their child’s attitude to the food.The study found that introducing the ‘three Rs’ dramatically increased children’s liking and consumption of vegetables that they previously disliked.
A total of 115 children aged between two and four took part in the research. They were placed in four separate groups and given the same vegetable to taste every day for 14 days. Each group was exposed to a different combination of ‘food intervention’ techniques — repeated exposure; role modelling and repeated exposure; rewards and repeated exposure or the ‘three Rs’: role modelling, repeated exposure and rewards. The amount of vegetable consumed by each child was measured at study’s conclusion.
At the end of the study, the group of children introduced to the ‘three Rs’ or ‘two Rs’ (rewards and repeated exposure) showed significant increases in the amount of vegetable they would eat and in their liking for the previously disliked vegetable. Children exposed to the ‘three R’s ate an average of 4g of the vegetable, compared to 0.6g before the start of the investigation. READ THE REST OF THE STUDY HERE.
For more ideas on how to manage your kids tricky behaviors, check out Parenting with Grace: The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (Almost) Perfect Kids and Then Comes Baby: The Catholic Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the First Three Years of Parenthood.