I'm not sure if any of the following strategies have worked, but something has changed in all three of my children this past month. Just a few weeks ago, I was lamenting to my mother that they don't eat anything. And all of a sudden: they're eating with gusto! Especially my 5-year old.
So, for what it's worth, here's what we've been doing:
- All but eliminated snacks (I'll be honest here: this involves some whining in the pre-dinner-time hour).
- Made the time increments between meals more even (we now eat lunch between 12:30 and 1:00, for instance).
- Try to get regular exercise!
- Keep offering the good stuff; make each kid try each food option (that's it--no one has to clean their plates)
- Let the kids help with meals!
- Keep it simple: we don't do a lot of sauces; our side dishes are frequently raw veggies and dip, fruits, steamed veggies, etc. All the "stuff" on the plate is recognizable.
- Positive thinking only! Complainers get sent to their room to regroup.
- We offer fun descriptors like "try this--it's crunchy" or "look at all the pretty colors" and so forth--pique their interest.
- Tell them, "Oh yeah--you like this. You just don't remember." Sometimes, it's true :).
- Don't sweat it when a kid goes to bed hungry. If they don't like it, fine. But I'm not a short order cook fixing each person something different.