At the one year and eight months mark, it’s common for the child to start becoming more selective with their food. In fact, that fact of the matter is that they will start voicing their opinions – and not always will they agree with you that they should eat all the broccoli on their plate. In order to make meal time a little easier and free of tantrums and fights, try practicing these suggestions:

● When giving the child a new food, offer them a spoonful or two or let them try a small amount on their own. If they don’t approve of it, don’t force them into eating it. Wait one or two days and try again. Forcing them to eat something will only make the child more resistant towards other flavors. Focus on getting them to agree to try something new. That being said, don’t give up: every two days, on average, rinse and repeat.

● There’s no point in getting your child to eat their veggies if you won’t put those on your own plate. Children learn by example – and from a very young age. Good habits on the dinner table should be practiced by everyone, especially by the parents and older siblings.

● Don’t forget to cut up certain foods, such as steak, into smaller pieces. The baby’s initial rejection to a particular food could be a sign of difficulty chewing and swallowing.

● Instead of the high chair, you can bring the booster seat into the house and just prop it on a chair. That way, your child can feel more recognized by being seated at the table with everyone else and it could help them eat better.

● Don’t mix the different foods on the plate. Let the child try different colors, flavors, textures and identify which food they belong to.

● Plates, silverware and cups with their favorite characters printed on them can boost the child’s interest in sitting at the table.

● Play around with the presentation of the plate, making silly “faces” and drawings with the food. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should hide something the child doesn’t like – such as carrots, for example. This kind of ruse won’t help you at all and can even make the child suspicious and fearful.

● Keep in mind that no food is irreplaceable. Just because the child doesn’t like spinach that they shouldn’t benefit from the vitamins it provides. Speak to the pediatrician and figure out what your options are.

● Incentivizing healthy eating is, in many cases, an arduous task. In some circumstances, maybe you’ve thought it won’t matter. It’s important not to give up easily: keeping a varied menu incentivizes healthier habits throughout the course of the child’s life. Keep offering a variety of foods, and hold back on your instinct to force the child to eat them all. Give a good example and eat with gusto, alongside the child, so as to possibly instigate their curiosity and interest.