My children think they live in a restaurant.
They seem to think that it’s my duty as their parent to give them an endless variety of custom-made meals, designed to suit each of their individual preferences. While I acknowledge it’s my duty as a parent to feed my child healthy, tasty food, it’s NOT my duty to provide all the extras and the nice-to-haves, the treats and deliciousness, nor to cater to their food predilections.
Recently my son started loudly complaining about having to eat peanut butter sandwiches for school EVERY DAY. This was after a week of general complaining about the food I give him. The solution? He went straight onto The Fussy Menu.
The Fussy Menu goes like this: if a child starts to get into being fussy about the food he eats, he gets a warning. Perhaps two. Then if he’s fussy again then he goes onto the Fussy Menu.
On the Fussy Menu, the child gets 7 days of the same food every day, minus the treats.
He doesn’t get any yummy flavored yoghurt, no cheese, no breakfast cereal. But he does get plenty of overripe, bruised fruit. If we go out for a meal, the Fussy Menu child gets the simplest food I can find. In addition, I don’t hold back for the other kids – they get things we would not routinely have. Biscuits, rusks, exotic fruit finds their way into the normal menu – the Fussy kid has to just suck it up because he did this to himself.
The bonus which I had not anticipated is that the other two children notice what’s happening, and it eliminates their fussiness too. They quickly decide they definitely don’t want to be on the Fussy Menu. This week Son 3 was starting to get fussy, and Son 2 told him ‘D, you’re running towards the razors edge (of the fussy menu), I’m definitely running away from it! The message had obviously been received by Son 2.
I’ve only ever had to put a child on the Fussy Menu once – A Simple Solution to an annoyance.