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What To Do When Your Foster Child Refuses To Eat

So you have a kid that just won't eat? For some reason or another your foster child simply refuses to eat the food you cook- and you just can't figure out why. First of all- that's okay. You're doing nothing wrong and neither are they. Every child is entitled to their own opinion. And you have to remember your kid came from a different home with different food- and your food is new and 'gross' to them. Be patient and do not get mad. In the mean time- here are a few tips to help your picky eater gain an appetite.

Have them help you make dinner: It's a simple task that can go such a long way. Invite them to help prepare dinner. For younger children have them mix a salad or spread butter on bread. Older kids can help with actual cooking tasks such as chopping and preparing food- as well as frying or baking it. If they still don't like the food smile and tease "You must not be a very good cook then- you made it." Younger kids take this as a challenge. And older kids are usually fairly proud of themselves and are way more willing to eat food that they themselves prepared.

Find their 'comfort food': Every child has a favorite food. For many kids in foster care I've discovered it's simple things like ramen noodles, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, or even plain bread. Ask your child what they like to eat and what their favorite food is. And let them eat those things once in a while. Their entire diet doesn't need to be perfect. And letting them have something they enjoy is a nice way of saying that they still have control in their lives.

Persuade them with creative food displays: This one tends to only work for younger children, but creative food displays are so much fun. Organize your fruit to make a rainbow. Have the condiments on your cheeseburger make a smiley face. Or use cookie cutters on meat loaf to make it into fun shapes. Little kids can't help but eat things that look so neat.

Let them help grocery shop: Have your foster children go grocery shopping with them. Be open to their ideas. In the veggie and fruit aisle make a point to let them pick out something to bring home and try. Have them help you pick out other items too- such as a fun new flavor of cheese, packages of lunch meat, and certain brands of cereal. If they help buy the food, they'll probably be more likely to eat the food. If they keep attempting to get certain snacks or unhealthy items- let them pick one and explain that they can't have too many because it's not healthy.

Let them help pick out meals: Your foster child should be included in every aspect of your life- including meal time. Do they crave a certain breakfast food? Make a point to offer it regularly on school mornings. Let them pick out dinner once a week. During holidays invite them to help pick out a side-dish (if they can't think of one- give them a recipe book to pick from). If you go out to eat often, occassionally let them pick the resturaunt.

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