It drives parents crazy: Their child won’t even take a tiny taste of something new.

  • Just taste it. If you don’t like it you don’t have to eat it.
  • Yum. It’s good. Just take a little taste. Come on. You’ll like it.
  • Look, Bobby likes it. Don’t you want to taste it?
  • If you taste it you can have a sticker!
  • If you don’t taste it you can’t have any dessert!

This is the second week in my series The Step-by-Step, Blow-by-Blow Guide to Introducing New Foods that’s Guaranteed to Change How Your Kids Eat.

If you are new to this series, start here.

1:Your child would try something new if she could.

She’s not trying to be defiant. You have to believe this.

2: When children won’t even take a tiny taste it is because their fear (or need to control the situation) is greater than your cajoles, bribes or threats.

That’s some pretty big fear. That’s why you need to adopt a teaching approach.

3. When kids taste something in response to parental pressure, they don’t really taste it.

True, the food goes in the mouth, the teeth chew it up, and then the food gets swallowed. But your kids haven’t really tasted it because their goal was simply to do what you wanted. To avoid getting in trouble. To get to dessert.

4. The more you push, the more your kids will push back. Butting heads…again.

Isn’t there a law of physics? For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction?

The Solution: Give up your goals. Separate tasting from eating. Grow a good taster.

Recognize that you have to make your children comfortable exploring new foods BEFORE they will ever be comfortable eating new foods.

This is why you had The Conversation and promised never, ever to make your kids eat something they didn’t want to eat. Now, you have to keep your promise.

Tell your children that it is your job to teach them how to explore new foods.

  1. Stress, you do not mean they will have to eat new foods.
  2. Tell your kids that you know this is difficult.
  3. Say you are going to do everything you can to make this easy for them.

Tomorrow, we’ll talk about how to start growing a good taster.

~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~

Read the next installment in the series here.