Most parents have to deal with a child who’s a picky eater at some point. As kids grow up and learn how to assert their opinions, they may rebel against eating the healthy foods their parents serve them in the hope of getting something tastier.
Dealing with a picky eater can be particularly challenging when you’re parenting across two households. If your co-parent isn’t much of a cook and regularly opts for fast food, kids are often more likely to reject the healthier fare that their other parent serves.
It’s essential for co-parents to get on the same page regarding their children’s diets. Make a meal and snack plan that you can both follow. Try to have meals on a set schedule so that your child is eating at approximately the same time regardless of whose home they’re in.
You should both work to determine what foods your child enjoys that are also healthy so that you can incorporate those into their meals. If there’s something your child truly hates, find a healthy substitution. If you don’t feel like having long discussions with your co-parent about your child’s diet, keep a journal like those available on co-parenting apps to track what your child is and isn’t eating.
Kids often take more of an interest in healthy foods if they can help prepare them. Let your child pitch in, in an age-appropriate way, while you’re preparing meals. Perhaps you can take your child grocery shopping and let them pick out some fruits or vegetables to feel like they’re part of the process.
Parents can and should lead by example. Your own diet may have gone off-track during the divorce. Your child may have seen you diving into a bag of chips or a pint of ice cream as a snack rather than a piece of fruit. This is a good incentive to get back to healthy eating and snacking habits.
If you have problems with a co-parent who’s only feeding your child fast food and it’s impacting their health or their eating habits, try to resolve it with your ex. If that doesn’t work, you may need to consider modifying your custody agreement to include a provision requiring both of you to provide healthy, balanced meals and snacks while your child is in your care. Your Colorado family law attorney can help you do this.