Four life-changing tips to finally get fussy eaters to finish their dinner.

You’ve come home after a day of work, exhausted. Despite every fibre of your being pulling you towards your bed/sofa/any flat surface, you open the fridge and come up with something for dinner. You spend the next 40 minutes cooking it, before placing it down on the table in front of your family.

“I don’t want it,” says one child.

“I’m not hungry,” says another.

“But I don’t like [insert main ingredient]” says another slightly bigger ‘child’ who may in actual fact be your partner.

It’s an all too familiar scene – but it’s about to be a thing of the past.

Lolly bags on the other hand… well kids are all about those. Andrew Daddo and Holly Wainwright discuss their parenting woes on This Glorious Mess. Post continues below.

Equally exasperated parents have taken to Reddit to share their tried and tested mind tricks that basically guarantee even the pickiest eater will finish dinner, every time.

1.Fear of loss.

Basically “create a sense of urgency” as they say in the marketing business.

“That’s why coupons have expiration dates, why airline websites publish ‘Only two seats left!’, and why the only way I can get my daughter to eat her dinner is by threatening to eat it myself,” wrote one user.

This was confirmed by another contributor.

“A friend of mine has a five year-old son. She told me that, when the kid threw a tantrum over dinner, she would just let the kid go: ‘Well, if you’re not hungry, you can go.’Later, after an hour, the boy would get hungry, and would ask for the dinner. To which she’d reply: ‘But I ate it all!'” they wrote.

No longer will dinners end up like this. Image: iStock

"When the son began to cry, she would offer to head to the kitchen together to make some food. Since then he always ate on time whatever was on the table."


2. Try a buffet.

You'd be amazed at how much kids want things others have.

"Try communal or buffet style eating instead, where they compete with each other, and see how that goes," wrote one savvy parent of three picky eaters.

"[They're picky eaters] until you put out a bowl of something they have to share then it's literally elbows and fistfights to get the last piece."

Oh no. Image via IStock.

There's also plenty for more general situations, including the failsafe way to make sure they do their chores - willingly.

3. Trick them into thinking they have a choice.

Originally on Supernanny, but also works well on lazy coworkers.

"In my last job I worked in a cinema and you tended to get a couple of lazy workers every now and then. I would get frustrated when there'd be an endless list of tasks to do, without the lazy ones pitching in," user Erin Rosado wrote.

"So I started saying to the lazy coworker something like, 'We need to bring more stock down, and the foyer needs to be swept. Do you want to get stock, or sweep?' This made them feel that they were in control as they were being given a choice so they were happier to do the work. It worked every time."

kids cat in the hat

Aha! Image: DreamWorks Pictures

The exact same principle can be applied to any situation with children - giving them a 'choice' of what you've already given them (e.g You can eat your peas or carrots? You can hang out your washing or tidy your bedroom?) followed up by the infamous "You can choose, or I can choose for you".

4. Silence.

You'll be amazed what it can achieve - and how quickly you can work out who really is responsible for the new artwork on the walls/mess in the bathroom/other disaster.

"If you want someone to admit to something, or if you want a better deal out of someone, or you want someone to tell you more than what they are... Just be silent," wrote one user.

"This works especially well over the phone. Silence is unnatural during conversation and it makes people uncomfortable. Many people will keep talking and talking, even if it means talking themselves deeper into a hole or offering you a better deal."


What's your trick?