Have a Picky Eater?
Put him/her to work in the kitchen! Multi-sensory learning is vital for older picky eaters. Transforming the grade school child, who as developed poor eating habits and who’s resistant to eating nutritious foods, into a healthy eater requires incorporating all his/her senses.
Most parents involve their kids in making desserts, but kids don’t need any encouragement to eat sweets. Helping with meal preparation is a natural way to incorporate tactile experiences with food for the older child. Cooking involves touching and experiencing food at every stage of the process.
Why parents don’t teach their kids to cook is beyond me. Kids are naturals in the kitchen and we should be teaching them to cook.
Ethan is like most kids: He loves to cook!
Younger children may begin by reading recipes, locating ingredients and retrieving items from the pantry. They may chop vegetables and combine ingredients. Older kids can prepare simple meals all by themselves.
Multi-sensory learning has staying power. It’s hard to find a more sensory-rich environment than the kitchen. As your child’s fingers crumble blue cheese into dressing, scoop flour into a measuring cup, or tear leaves for salad, the tactile and olfactory pleasure help encode specific memories. Humans must see, hear, smell, touch, and, finally taste to form the complex associations, which make up the appreciation of whole foods.
Childhood is when learning actually changes the brain’s functional anatomy. Hands-on experiences are particularly vital at this time. In fact, the child who spends time sifting flour, washing dishes, setting the table and using math (measuring ingredients, counting celery stalks, following recipes) has a strong foundation of representational experience, which in turn enables better understanding of abstract mathematical concepts. These hands-on experiences also contribute to reading readiness. Another benefit of kitchen learning: Cooking and tasting the results a short time later provides wonderful lessons in cause and effect. These tactile experiences imprint on children that whole foods are tasty.
Seal the Deal
Eat the meal your child has helped to prepare at the table with the family. Your child will feel worth in completing a task which has real value. As the rest of the family enjoys the meal your child as helped to prepare this will solidify the notion that whole food is yummy!
For a synopsis of the Baby Bites book, Click Here.
CLICK HERE for ordering information for Baby Bites: Transforming a Picky Eater into a Healthy Eater and The Forest Feast: Baby Bites Mealtime Adventures.