Why you should talk to your child’s nursery or childminder

Are you following the Getting the Little Blighters to Eat approach at home, but your child eats some meals at nursery or with a childminder? Here’s three important pieces of advice!

#1 Get them fully on board!

Nurseries and childminders know parents are desperate for their child to eat well and so with the best intentions in the world, most of them encourage and cajole the children to eat at meal and snack time. But it is so much better if your child experiences the SAME approach at nursery as at home and doesn’t receive mixed messages. Speak to – or email – your child’s key worker or childminder. Tell them you’re following a new ‘zero pressure’ approach to food and mealtimes and you’d like them – and any other staff who are around your child when they’re eating – to do the same. No encouragement to eat AT ALL. Not even telling your child something is “yummy”! Just give them their food and say nothing more about it. DISH UP, SHUT UP! You may need to be quite assertive and check every so often that they are sticking to this as, understandably, it’s so easy for them to forget or slip back into old ways.

# 2 Ask them to keep their lips sealed at pick-up!

When you pick your child up, it’s very common for nursery staff and childminders to feed back to you exactly what your child did and didn’t eat that day – in front of your child! Of course you want to know, but think of it from your child’s point of view. They’re standing there listening to this and – wham bam! – that gives them a HUGE daily dose of attention and feeling of power around food! “Wow, these guys really care what I eat and don’t eat.” It totally nurtures fussy eating! Just ask the staff to write it down instead (many do anyway). Again, the staff may forget and slip up from time to time and start telling you – but if this happens, you can jokingly make a mouth-zipping gesture to remind them!
# 3 Don’t interrogate your child!
It can be so tempting when you pick up your child up to get into a conversation with them about what they ate at nursery that day. “What was for lunch today?” “Did you like it?” “Did you eat all of it?” “Even the carrots?” But the interest you show here screams at your child “I hope you ate it! I hope you ate it!” which simply gives them something to react AGAINST! It gives them a lot of attention and power for NOT eating something. Bite your tongue! You can’t undo what happened – but you can make it worse. 😉