Even if you’ve done everything right, you are bound to encounter the “NO!”

Let’s say you’ve taken The Vacation, had The Conversation, and are committed to Growing a Good Taster. And, let’s say that your children played along for awhile. Now? Everytime you suggest sampling something, your kids simply refuse.

What now? (If you are new to this series, start here.)

The only response to a “NO” is “OK.”

I know, it’s really tempting to start convincing. But let’s be honest here. If you were any good at convincing your kids to try new foods you wouldn’t be reading this post.

Please know that a “no” is not your fault. And it is not because your convincing skills are rusty.

Trying to convince kids to taste something they don’t want to taste is a failing strategy. You apply pressure. They apply pressure back. Your convincing is only encouraging your kids to shore up the troops.

Kids have to think the job is easy. A “NO” signals you’ve asked them to do something that is too difficult.

It doesn’t seem difficult to you, but it does to them.

  1. Back off and work on the other senses. “What does it look like or feel like?”
  2. Offer “easy” tastes such as ice cream, cookies, crackers to get over the resistance hump.
  3. Be playful. Play “ball” with the peas. Talk about gross smells and sounds.
  4. Offer an even smaller sample. If you’ve been offering a pea-sized sample, think a grain of rice. The best taste is a taste that your children can’t even taste because it is entirely safe.

If your children have “figured out” what is going on—i.e. they know that you are teaching them to taste new foods and you’re not just playing a game with them—congratulations!

Kids should know what is going on.

  • Lessons should never be a secret. Secrecy makes kids feel like they have to be on their guard. That is counterproductive
  • Your kids don’t have to want to learn a skill in order for you to teach them that skill. Think brushing teeth.
  • When kids know what the plan is they can participate more effectively than when they are kept in the dark. True, it also means they can “opt out.” But there’s a solution to that.

Tomorrow I will talk about how to use incentives effectively.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Read the next installment in the series.