Mother and Baby

It’s Not Just Yours! New Figures Show Just How Many Children Are Fussy Eaters

Do you spend long lengths of time encouraging your tot to eat her greens? Don’t worry – you’re just one of the many parents struggling with a fussy eater

A staggering 80 per cent of UK parents have children who are fussy eaters, a new study has found. And some parents spend anything up to an hour EVERY meal time tempting their child to eat their food.

This figure was revealed after 1,000 British parents were polled by global healthcare company Abbott about their children’s eating habits.

Some parents spend anything up to an hour EVERY meal time tempting their child to eat their food

The study also found that almost 90 per cent of the polled parents experience ‘negative emotions’ as a result of their child’s eating behaviour as 69 per cent of parents worry their tot is not getting the nutrients they need.

Approximately 60 per cent of the parents said that the fussy eating was frustrating to them, 27 per cent said that it made them feel anxious and powerless and 15 per cent admitted to feeling guilty.

A shocking 40 per cent even said that their child’s eating habits had made mealtimes unhappy because of conflict and tension with their partner.

The solution? Bribing children with sweet treats (34 per cent), hiding vegetables in other foods (33 per cent) and threatening to take away treats (21 per cent) were common tactics tried out. However, a more positive and collaborative approach could be the way forward, says Netali Levi, a clinical psychologist.

‘Managing mealtimes to make them enjoyable, reducing stress (both yours and the child’s) and understanding your child’s hunger signals are all key to success,’ says Netali. ‘It’s important to realise that there are some aspects of the situation where you may have less control. You need to find what works for you and your child but generally speaking, by involving them in the process of shopping, cooking and preparing food, gradually introducing new flavours and textures, and rewarding progress, it should be possible for you to navigate this tricky phase and get them back to healthy eating habits.’

If you need some help encouraging your tot to eat more, check out our seven easy ways to stop your toddler being a fussy eater and read the 10 fab food secrets that mums swear by.

How do you tempt your tot to try new foods? Let us know below. 

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