Book Notes: The Picky Eating Solution

I have been feeling the need to increase the health and wellness of my family by increasing the health of our diet. A few of my children are very limited in the kinds of foods that they eat, and we all need to eat more vegetables! I have been reading a few different resources and recently read The Picky Eating Solution by Deborah Kennedy. The book had some helpful ideas, so I am sharing my notes here.

As I keep researching I have the feeling that one of my children may actually be beyond just a picky eater, moving into the realm of a resistant eater or perhaps some sensory issues. So I am not sure if all of the ideas in the book will actually work for him. However, we are working on our own variation of dinner rules.

“Not allowing dessert until enough dinner is eaten, especially vegetables, is a consequence, not a reward. So is have having your child each the healthy stuff before he can have the unhealthy part of his snack. This is really just a “this then that” technique you probably use every day, whereby you teach your child that he must first do one thing before he can get what he wants: exercise before playing video games, finish homework before playing outside, or cleanup your room before going to a friend’s house. If you take away the consequence, how in the world are you ever going to motivate your child to eat the healthy stuff?” (p. 59).

“Do not serve a snack within two hours of meal-time.”

Six Simple and Effective Food Rules to Live By

  1. Eat then treat. Ex: No dessert until the meal is eaten. No treat at snack time until a fruit or veggie is eaten. Not treats at all if enough healthy food was not eaten that day. Say “Oh, I see you haven’t eaten your carrots. We are having ice cream for dessert. You can have some once you eat your carrots. The choice is yours.”
  2. Establish the one-bite rule. She just has to take one bite (of a new food), then she can spit out if she does not like it. If there is not an intense reaction, then next time she can try two bites, then three, etc. Remain calm and don’t overreact. For extremely resistant children try the touch-smell-lick approach.
  3. Serve a fruit or veggie with every meal and snack. Children need at least two whole fruits and three vegetables a day. Consequence–if they don’t eat the 5 servings, then they do not get any processed treats.
  4. Limit food waste.
  5. Serve only one dinner. Give children the chance to offer input on what is served (pick the vegetable or the main dish).
  6. No “yuck” is allowed at the table. Consequence is a time-out in their room. They can say “This is not my favorite”.

Four Table Rules to Prevent Mealtime Chaos and Encourage Family Connection

  1. Everyone has a job to do at mealtime. Kids can help plan, pick, prep, and cook.
  2. Eat at the table.
  3. Electronics are not allowed at the table when eating.
  4. Whoever raises his or her voice leaves the table.

Three helpful articles for parents

A few interesting articles that popped up in my reader recently. Worth a read for parents!

Why Children Need Chores: Doing household chores has many benefits-academically, emotionally and even professionally.

1. Watch your language: thank your children for “being a helper” rather than “helping”.

2. Schedule chore time.

3. Game it:start small and have young children earn new “levels” of responsibilities, like going from sorting clothes to earning the right to use the washing machine.

4. Keep allowances and chores separate: money can lessen a child’s motivation to help, turning an altruistic act into a business transaction.

5. Types of tasks matter: chores should be routine and focused on taking care of the family (like dusting the living room or doing everyone’s laundry), not self-care (tidying one’s bedroom or doing personal laundry). Let children help in choosing tasks.

6. Talk about chores differently: instead of saying, “Do your chores,” say “Let’s do our chores.”

7. Give chores a PR boost: Don’t tie chores to punishments, talk about them positively.


9 Things Every Parent with an Anxious Child Should Try

My children have often struggled with separation anxiety (going to school or primary classes alone, etc). I thought some of these tips could help me to handle the situation better and help me to coach them through their anxiety.

1. Stop Reassuring Your Child: Use the FEEL method-Freeze, Empathize, Evaluate, Let Go

2. Highlight Why Worrying is Good: worry is perfectly normal, it can help protect us

3. Bring Your Child’s Worry to Life

4. Teach Your Child to Be a Thought Detective: Catch your thoughts, collect evidence, challenge your thoughts

5. Allow Them to Worry: worry openly in limited doses, then put them away

6. Help Them Go from What If to What Is: live in the present time

7. Avoid Avoiding Everything that Causes Anxiety: use gradual exposure

8. Help Them Work Through a Checklist

9. Practice Self-Compassion


8 Things Top Practicers Do Differently : what does “practice smarter, not harder” really mean?

As a piano teacher and a parent of piano students, I thought the results of this research study were interesting. “The researchers note that the most striking difference between the top three pianists and the rest, was how they handled mistakes.” The one key strategy=strategically slowing things down.

“Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.” -George Bernard Shaw –

10 Things Not to Say to Your Children

Recently I discovered this post, 10 Things Not to Say to Your Children, via Pinterest. I thought it was a good list to remember and try to remove from my daily conversations with my children. (You can follow the link to get the explanation behind each point, and ideas for what you can say instead)

1. No (running, hitting, yelling, fill in the verb)!

2. Good job!

3. Don’t argue with me.

4. Wait until your Dad/Mom/other person finds out about this.

5. If you do that one more time…

6. You are doing that the wrong way.

7. That is what happens when you…

8. You can’t/Don’t do that.

9. We are (whatever the child doesn’t want to do at that moment), OKAY?

10. You are making me really mad right now.