Many parents have children that are fussy eaters and it can make mealtime a really miserable experience. You might feel like you spend more time sitting at the table than you do doing anything else. It can make you feel like you are a bad parent as the children are not getting all the nutrients they need and that you are not cooking good enough food if they will not eat it. There are lots of opinions on what to do to help and it is important to find a solution that works for you.
Do not feel guilty
There is so much guilt that we feel as parents and not feeding our children well is one part of it. Many parents will boast that their children eat anything or that they only eat healthy foods and things like that. We have enough pressure without worrying about what other parents and children are doing and can we be sure they are being truthful anyway? It is not your fault if your children are fussy and you can try every method in the book and it doesn’t mean that it will work. We are all different so it does not mean that you are a failure as a parent because something that works on other children does not work for you. It is good to try different techniques but do put lots of pressure on yourself as your child may just need something totally different. The more worried you get about it, the more stressed you will be at mealtimes and that will make everyone dread them which does not create a good atmosphere for eating different foods.
If you are worried that your child is not getting enough nutrients because they are eating such a restricted diet then ask your doctor or pharmacist about supplements. They will be able to advise you as to whether they are lacking in any major nutrients and whether they should be supplemented. Do check with a health professional though, rather than someone who works in a health food shop. Those in health food shops are trained to sell rather than doctors and pharmacists who are trained to diagnose and prescribe.
Be calm and collected
It is really important that you are in the mind set for coping with trying to coax your child to eat something new. You will have to be very patient and persuasive and firm at the same time and this is not easy. If you feel that you are not in a good mood, or feeling weak then there is no point in even trying. You need to be in a mood where you have lots of patience and time, will not lose your temper but can be persuasive and firm. Even in the right mood you will be facing a challenge but if you are not in the mood for it then it is unlikely that you will have any success.
I used to find that putting the TV on was really helpful when weening my children. They would get involved in the TV program and I could just tap their lip with a spoon, they would open their mouth and eat without thinking. As they got older though the TV became a distraction and they ate more slowly because it put them off. It could be used as a reward though, that if they ate quickly then it could go on. As they move into teenage years, having no phones at the table can be a great way to get them to eat everything as you can tell them that once their plate is clean they can put in the dishwasher and then get their phone back! They will eat quickly as a way to leave the table and no longer having to talk to their family!
Introduce new foods slowly
Being faced with a plate full of new foods can be extremely daunting. Imagine if you had all the foods you disliked the most on your plate and were expected to eat them, it would not be nice. It can therefore be better to introduce a new food one at a time. I found it was best to give them a plate of food they really liked and ask them to just have one taste of the new food before they ate the rest. I would not make them have more than one taste but if they liked it I would suggest that they might like more. You will need to keep presenting this food until it becomes familiar and they are used to the taste. Some people suggest 20 times and some even suggest 20 days in a row. Think about which method might work best for you remembering that if you produce it every day, you need to be in the right mind set to firmly get them to try it for each of those days.
Do not feel pressure
It can be so easy to think that because everyone else’s child eats carrots then yours should as well. Just because other mums say their children will eat anything or are happy to have the most exotic foods of flavours does not mean that yours has to. A good variety of food is healthier, but while they are still learning about foods, plain foods and similar things each day will not matter. Just because one child likes mussels and another likes olives does not mean that they also like vegetables. Remember parents have a tendency to make a big fuss of what their children can do and not reveal what they cannot. It is worth remembering that there are certain foods that even as adults we dislike and would rather not eat. Some adults refuse to eat certain foods and others will tolerate them but not enjoy them. As we are fussy, we cannot expect our children to like everything and particularly to like the same foods as us.
How to Pay for a New Baby
Having a new baby is an expensive business. You will find that you have to buy a lot more than you would even think. You will need to buy furniture and car seats, pushchairs, clothing, toys and food. You may be lucky enough to get all sorts of gifts when you first have a child and this could include a lot of clothing. However, you still have to pay out for the more expensive items and this can be tricky to afford. You will also find that although once you have bought these initial things baby is quite cheap for a while, they will get more expensive as they get bigger. You may also suddenly find that you have less income coming into the family and so you will have to cope with the consequences of that as well. There are things that you can do to prepare financially before the baby comes and then once they arrive as well.
Build up your savings
It can be really useful to have some savings built up ready for when the baby arrives. You will then have a sum of money available to you that you can use if you need to. When you have a big expense such as buying a cot, highchair, pushchair or car seat, you will have a sum of money there that you can use. Even if you can only save a little bit each month it will be well worth it. Try to encourage saving by setting up a direct debit for money to be put into a savings account just after you are paid each month. Then you will be able to make sure that the money is saved before you accidently spend it. You may need to cut down your spending, but this will be a good habit to get into as you will need to spend less on yourself when the baby arrives anyway as you will need some money to spend on them.
Get used to managing on less
If you are putting money into a savings account each month, it will mean that you will have less money left to buy the things that you need in the month. It can be really good to get used to spending less money and basically having less things. Comparing prices on things that you buy can be a good place to start. You could find that there are cheaper alternatives to a lot of things that you buy and that you will find you will be able to switch to those without noticing any different. This can apply to every item that your purchase from insurance to groceries. Obviously, there may be some cheaper options that you do not like. However, it is good to take a look at the options and try out different things. This can be a great way to spend less money without having to go without. You may need to cut down on items as well, but this method could mean that you will not have to cut down on so much and still you will be able to save money.
Reduce spending on luxuries
It is a good idea to think about what things you can do without and spend less on. You may not be that aware of where your money goes and if this is the case then it is a good idea to look back at your bank statements or spend a month noting down everything that you spend money on. This could really help you to see where the money goes and identify areas where you can cut down. This does not mean going without all of your treats completely but it does mean that you can see if there are things that you are buying that you could easily manage without. Consider what you will have time for when you have had the baby and what you might be doing. There may not be time to read magazines, go out to events that need nice clothes or watch lots of television. This means that you could cancel some subscriptions, buy less clothing and have a cheaper television package.
Look for ways to increase your income
It is a good idea to see whether there are any ways that you can increase your income. This may seem impossible as one of you may be staying at home to look after the baby. However, there are many ways to make money outside of your normal job. For example, you could rent out your garage, spare room, drive way or attic space in order to get an income. You could do surveys or small jobs online to earn some extra money. You could work shifts so that both parents can work but they work different hours so there is always someone to do childcare. Another thing to check is that you are getting the best return on your savings, if you move money into a better paying account, you will earn more interest and that will increase your income.
There is no getting around the fact that children are expensive. However, most parents think that they are well worth it and are happy to go without a few luxuries so that they can look after their children. It can take a bit of getting used to though, but once you get into the habit of spending less, then it is much easier than you might think. Finding a few ways to make a bit extra can help as well. These are just a few ideas as to what you could try but there are lots of different things you can do so that you have enough money to manage. Cutting down what you are spending may seem easier to do, but it can feel better to earn a bit more so that you do not have to cut down so much. It is up to you to decide which you think will be better although a combination of the two might work well.