(audience applause) If you’re the parent of a fussy eater, dinner time can be a daily battle, but, did this next parent take it too far? No? Please?
Okay. Say no? (pounding noises) (laughing) It does work! It works! This father tried the same thing. (child-like music) (whispering) (pounding) (muffled laughter) (giggling) (audience gasps) Woah. Not what you all were expecting. I want to start with you, Doctor Judy. I mean that was, we’re laughing, because it was aggressive. That was so not okay. I had a real reaction viscerally when I watched it. And kids are attached to their stuffed animals. Yes! I mean, they love them.
I know. And to see you take it out physically? Yeah, but listen, kids might be eating, but you’re teaching them that violence is the answer. Yes.
Right? Yes, yes.
So even if it works, it is not the right way to go about it. (audience applause)
Definitely not. There is no long term effectiveness at all. And, there was a very famous study by Dr. Bandura, and that Bobo doll right there. They would have kids watching an adult in another room, and they would pick up the Bobo doll, slam them, punch them, and then, they would let the kid into the room and say, what would you like to do? And they do exactly what the adult does. And if the adult does something non-violent, like talk to the Bobo doll, pet the Bobo doll, hug the Bobo doll, then the kid will go in and do the same thing. So if you think about that lesson, that means that you’re teaching your kids, that if they don’t like something, and they want to make somebody else do something, they can just beat somebody up to get them to do that. And over time, you are teaching your kids decreased empathy, and that’s a very, very bad lesson, just to get them to eat some peas. We’re joined now by pediatrician, Doctor Dafna Ahdoot, because, Doctor Ahdoot, if beating up a stuffed animal is not the answer, what is the answer? How do we get kids to eat? Yeah, I absolutely agree with Doctor Judy. Hitting a stuffed animal, or force spooning a child to eat is definiteley not the answer, because it makes meal times scary. So, if kids are intimidated to eat, they’re actually not likely to eat, and there could be some medical consequences down the line. So, if you’re doing this to your child, they can have things like anxiety, depression, something called failure to thrive. And failure to thrive is a thing where they’re not gaining weight, they’re not getting taller, and there’s something actually even worse than that. It’s called rumination, where they’re eating, they’re bringing the food back up, they’re chewing that food, and then swallowing it again. So, that’s actually a result of this kind of behavior from the parents. So, let’s keep it positive, right? Exactly, so tip number one, you wanna keep meal time positive. You wanna be relaxed. You wanna have a meal at the table that consists of the different food groups. Take a look at your child’s facial expression. Are they happy eating it? Are they not liking it?
(audience laughs) Exactly. If they’re not liking it, don’t force it down their throat, okay. Take it a way. Reintroduce it at a later time. Just remember, kids are intuitive eaters. They eat when they’re hungry. They don’t eat when they’re full. All right, so that’s a great first tip. What’s tip number two? My second tip, actually, is something called baby-led weaning. And that is when a child is around seven to nine months old, and they’re ready to eat finger foods. So, you’re laying down these soft foods on their table, like avocados, bananas, something soft, and they’re just gonna nit pick and eat it. That allows for independence, for autonomy. They feel like they have power over what they’re eating. Just make sure to expect the mess. It’s gonna be messy. They’re gonna be getting their faces dirty. And, also, please don’t give them anything hard, like hot dogs, or nuts. And they’re just gonna take it their way, and down the road, they’re likely to be eating more a variety of different foods. So, tip number three. Listen, I have kids of my own. I have two daughters, and what I like to do, because both of them are picky, is to have a structured meal time. Kids are a creature of habit. They like to eat things at correct times throughout the day. So, let’s say it’s dinner time, you wanna make sure you’re not giving them too many snacks before, that they’re actually hungry. You wanna have them help you prepare the meal. My other daughter, my first daughter helps me set up the table. Turn off the TV. Get rid of the toys. Get rid of books. And it really helps when mommy and daddy are actually sitting along with them, in a very relaxed setting, and just eating and talking about our day. When kids see us eat, and we are calm and relaxed, they’re likely to copy our behavior. Just like they’re likely to copy negative behavior, if we’re modeling positive behavior, they’re gonna do the same.