Books,  Food,  Reviews,  Top Tips

Getting The Little Blighters To Eat

To finish off our month-long ‘Rub-a-dub-dub, Thanks for the Grub!’ theme, I thought I’d share with you a book that made a huge difference to me and my approach to feeding the kids. At the time I purchased it the boys where just about to turn 2 and their feeding habits where starting to change and the fear of them becoming ‘fussy eaters’ was royally kicking in.

The book I’m referring to is called Getting The Little Blighters To Eat‘ by Claire Potter and it’s available on Amazon for £4.99, which was a bargain in my opinion, given the impact it had on us.

Now I’m not a big reader, but even I managed to finish this in an evening because it’s so easy to read and the illustrations are fab.

Claire claims to be able to ‘change your children from fussy eaters to foodies’ by following her 30 rules… amazing right!? Well don’t set your hopes too high as it would be a long stretch to say that the boys are now ‘foodies’, but they definitely eat a lot more than I’ve watched other kids eat so I can’t complain.

I started reading the book because I was starting to find meal times quite stressful, the boys had only been with us 6 months and suddenly there seemed to be a change and like any parent I was scared they weren’t going to get enough to eat or that they were going be malnourished because they wouldn’t eat anything green all of a sudden.

Looking back, the evening meal had started to become a real source of anxiety for me and the whole event from start to finish had become a toxic environment for everyone, filled with empty threats, frustrations, tears, the works!

Reading Claire’s rules and taking [most] of them onboard and changing our outlook on meal times had a massive and fairly quick impact on us as a family. Within a week or two, meal times had changed from a place of stress and anxiety to a calm, happy time again. Now I’m not saying that meant the boys suddenly became partial to a bit of broccoli or sprouts, but the whole issue of what they were or were not eating had been removed.

I don’t want to spoil the book for you, but here are a couple of the rules Claire shares that really resonated with me;

Rule 4- ‘Give up your power!’ 

Here the author talks about how as adults we control EVERYTHING about these little people and that the only thing they can control is what they eat. A total light bulb moment for me, I am a total control freak in every aspect of life and it just took reading that rule to realise I was doing exactly that to the boys at tea time. Them refusing to eat was a challenge to their developing independence.

Claire talks about how you as the parent need to retain control over everything (shopping, meal choices etc), but once it goes on the plate, the control becomes theirs and it is their choice whether they eat or not. This was also probably one of the hardest because it takes serious restraint to break that habit of watching their every mouthful and willing them on. It’s also the hard one because when they choose not to eat you have to stay strong and be consistent with the ‘this is what’s for tea‘ line and don’t cave.

I definitely had a few shakey moments putting them to bed when they surely must have been hungry, but I did it and within a week this was one of the biggest changes for us.

Rule 12- ‘Don’t give a running commentary at meal times’ 

Even if you don’t buy the book, challenge yourself to this one, Craig and I became the commentary police to each other and it was hilarious. You’ll really surprise yourself how much you do it.

‘Oooo, was that nice?’, ‘Mmmm, that looks yummy’, Wow, you’ve eaten all your peas’… the pair of us NEVER SHUT UP! No wonder the poor kids couldn’t wait to be down from the table!

I honestly could sit and go through every rule and tell you how it made a difference to us, but I’ll let you find out for yourselves rather than waffle on. But hopefully you get the gist of how useful this book can be to a parent struggling with meal times.

The biggest thing I got from reading this book was relief. Relief from the fear that they would starve, that they would end up obese or malnourished, relief that people would judge me for having fussy eaters, relief that I wasn’t just a sh*t cook, but most importantly, relief from the fear that I was not good enough as a parent because I couldn’t get veggies down their necks.

If any of this resonates with you, then you can probably tell that I would recommend having a read of this! And also, if any of the feelings that I was experiencing are what you are going through right now then know this…



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