Dealing With Picky Eaters When Dining Out
Practice! You should have the same expectations at home that you would have at other's homes. Have a seated dinner at least once a week. Of course, my old-fashionedness wants to tell you every night of the week, but I know that's just not practical in today's busy families. If you allow rude words at home, I guarantee your children will use even worse language outside your home. Take the time to work on table manners and the art of good conversation. Let your kids take turns selecting the menu for the evening.
Now, about the picky-eater trouble. Picky eaters are programmed to be picky and can be de-programmed. One of my son's friends fell into this category when he began spending the night in our home. When I called the boys to supper, their friend came with a plastic container filled with a PB&J sandwich, edges trimmed, cut on the diagonal. I told him at our house we come to the dinner table to break bread together. No one was allowed to bring his or her own food. We wanted him to join us, but he would have to eat our food or not participate. The first night, he opted out. The next weekend, he came to the table when I called the boys to supper and actually discovered there was something more to eat than just a PB&J sandwich! The next time he came over, he was in the kitchen asking, "What's for dinner? I hope it's something I haven't tried before!"
Children need you to make decisions for them. When we offer them too many choices at every turn, they quickly go into overload because their little minds can't process that many choices. Picky eaters become picky because they can't make all those decisions. It's easier to just stick with one or two choices than to have to make another decision. Use the old technique: Cook supper, put it on the table (with your children's help), sit down and eat. Those who eat, eat. Those who don't, don't. It's that simple! Kids figure it out much more quickly than we do!