1. Try new foods.
2. Keep growing.
3. Take vitamin drops and allergy meds every day.
4. Brush teeth 2-3 times/day.
|Turning in his stickers for a new RC Lightning McQueen car.|
Basically, we started with T Rex earning a sticker or two for each new food he tried. First on the list was milk. He has never drunk cow's milk. He never liked it. I breastfed him until he was 19 months and then no matter how hard I tried he would not drink non-mom's milk. In fact, he would not drink anything except water, not even juice which is fine - kids don't need juice. I did start giving vitamin D drops but other than cheese I was not sure how to get him sufficient levels of calcium, especially with his limited intake of food variety.
For the milk, I started giving about 2 ounces with each meal and he would earn a sticker every time he drank it. No pressure but just friendly reminders that he would earn his sticker. After a few days he started to drink his milk. Now, he actually asks for milk. It's wonderful. I still award a sticker for each glass he drinks.
He has also started eating other veggies by introducing them in a similar manner. Recently he tried eggplant - something I don't like but since I'm trying to set an example for my son, we purchased it. He really wanted to get one when we went shopping and later before dinner he helped me to prepare it. Then he ate it. I could barely finish my portion and T Rex Dad would not even eat it. But our picky eater ate all of his! I have noticed that if he chooses the food at the market and aids in the preparation, he is significantly more likely to try and eat it than if I just put something in front of him and ask him to eat it.
We've been focusing on veggies as of late. He went from eating none to eating raw and cooked carrots, peas, and broccoli. He will also now eat pasta of all shapes and colors when previously he would shun pasta if it was the wrong color or shape. He's also started eating beans (black and pinto) - so glad about this one (beans and tortillas are a main stable). He will also voluntarily eat rice but it makes him gag and at times vomit. I don't know what's going on there - maybe a texture thing. I just find it interesting that he will voluntarily eat it - maybe the reward system is working too good.
In addition, I've also been awarding stickers for random acts of manners and sharing as well as using the restroom without prompting. Then the awarded stickers go onto a chart I've make. When the chart is filled he gets to turn them in for his special prize. Lately, though, he's been determining the prize ahead of time which is good so then we can remind him he is one sticker closer to earning his new prize. He usually has to earn between 56 and 88 stickers before he gets his prize. Generally, it takes 2 or more weeks to fill the chart. The kid really does work hard for his prizes. I think if we were to restart this again I'd probably start with having him need fewer stickers - say 20 - and then work upward to 56 or 88.
I actually really like this technique because he is also learning the concept of earning and saving for something. Differed gratification is something really tough to teach especially to a child three years old. We are just so glad we've found something that works for him.
How do you get your kids to try new foods? How do you teach the concept of deferred gratification?