It can be frustrating and disheartening when your child says they won’t eat something, especially when it’s been their go-to, a food you know they’ll always eat or a dinner they’ve always liked. Now suddenly they’re refusing it?! What do you do?
Keep offering. Stay consistent. This helps them know that their refusal doesn’t mean this food is going away. It will still be part of the rotation. Keeping a refused food in the rotation also continues to give exposure to these foods. It helps keep kids familiar with the look and smell of the food, and how it looks on others’ plates.
Make sure your child will eat something else you’re offering with a refused food so that continuing to offer a refused food isn’t a huge battle. This way you can continue to maintain the basic rules of mealtime responsibilities: that it’s always up to your child how much they want to eat, but you choose what’s offered. So that you can calmly say, “I know you said you don’t want it and that’s ok, but it’s still part of dinner, even if you don’t want it.”
If your child is refusing a food they’ve liked in the past, they’ll usually come back around. It’s important for kids to assert their will and see what happens. It’s up to us to decide what happens. And when it comes to food refusal, the reaction that will bring them back to previously accepted foods with the least amount of pushing of boundaries (and buttons!) is to just keep offering!
Good luck! Happy Thursday and happy food play!