These tips are adapted from Ellyn Satter's Division of Responsibility.
- Continue to maintain a “Division of Responsibility” in regard to feeding, but realize that as children mature, they can begin to take on more responsibility for what to eat.²
- Parents are responsible for what foods and beverages are brought into the home, what foods are on- or off-limits for snacks, and what foods are served for family meals.
- Children are responsible for whether to eat and how much to eat. Young school-age children can begin to make decisions about what to eat for snacks and for meals outside the home (like at school or at a friend’s home).
- At home, serve meals and snacks at the kitchen or dining room table; limit eating in other rooms of the house and while watching TV.
- Have family meals and keep mealtimes pleasant. Turn off the TV so you can enjoy being together. Spend time talking about the food they are eating. Be sure to introduce the foods when you serve them.
- Do not short-order cook for the child who refuses to eat what you serve for the rest of the family.
- Offer new foods often and encourage your child to try them. Perhaps have your child help you with grocery shopping and choosing new foods, especially new fruits and vegetables to try. Serve new foods initially as “side dishes” along with familiar foods.
- Allow your child to serve themselves – remember you are offering the food you feel is best for them, allow your child some independence to choose the foods they want (out of your pre-determined selections) and how much of those foods