Today”s Daily Tip: Create realistic goals, not grandiose goals: you’ll be more likely to stick to them.
Food is an emotional experience. We get used to food being a certain way, and eaten a certain way. It is very difficult to change our perceptions of how food should be once we get older.
Along my real food journey, I decided I wanted my son to benefit from things like Fermented Cod Liver Oil, Coconut Oil, and herbs, too. I knew he wouldn’t run and greet me when I had a spoonful of something like cod liver oil. I would have to be creative. I also sometimes use these tips to include foods in our diet that the majority of society doesn’t normally eat, like bone broth, raw milk cheese, sourdough products, fermented foods, and even new foods unfamiliar to the whole family! This post mostly focuses on coconut oil and fermented cod liver oil, but you can really use it for whatever you think is best! Here is what worked for us.
2. Start Early
3. Start Small
4. Be a Good Example
5. Have a Fun Routine
6. Practice Daily
7. The Sneaky Method
10. When All Else Fails
First, evaluate your expectations of your child taking what you want them to take. Is it absolutely necessary that they take it, and there is no option to opt out? That is fine! But be firm about it. Do you want to give them the option to not take it? This is your choice as the parent. It will be much more difficult to get them to take things things this way. Either direction you choose is fine, but decide before you start any other steps.
Personally, I am all about kids making choices for themselves. Clothes, shoes…even if they don”t match, choice between two vegetables, bath or shower, you name it. It gives your child a voice. It also helps me learn to let go what isn’t absolutely important in our lives. However, when it comes to food supplements I feel are necessary or even just very beneficial for E (my 2 and a half year old son), I take the “no options” stance. I am quite firm about it! He knows this well, and gave me no issues once he understood that.
2. Start Early.
The earlier you begin food supplements, the better. Within reason, of course! I am not sure when I would start fermented cod liver oil: I would have to do some more research about that. I started E when he was a little over two because that is when I learned about it. The earliest you can safely start a child on something that doesn’t taste like a dessert is the best time. It becomes normal to them over time.
3. Start Small.
You can”t expect a toddler who has never taken fishy gel before to take a whole half teaspoon of it. Start very small. They have lived this long without it, and taking a week to ease into it is wise on your part! They will be less likely to give you issues about it if you gradually ease into the program. Follow all the other steps, but just adjust the amount of the product or food.
With coconut oil, you definitely want to start small. With E, I believe I began with a half teaspoon every day. We eased into him taking up to 3 or 4 very large teaspoons every day! But this happened over the course of a few weeks or months, not all at once. If you take too much all at once, you can have gas, and sometimes even diarrhea, and other tummy issues. I have heard that it is a detox effect, but regardless…get your body, and theirs, used to it first. It is an amazing oil, and I personally believe everyone should be consuming it daily!
4. Be a Good Example.
This one is easy. In our family, we take our “icky things” all together as a family. Usually after a meal or before a snack. We start with E, then us. If Daddy isn’t around, Mama and E take our things together. FCLO (fermented cod liver oil) we take morning and afternoon, broth with breakfast, etc. I very rarely take something without E taking it too. It is a family affair!
5. Have a Fun Routine.
Especially at first while you are establishing a new practice, have a fun routine. When we first started FCLO, our routine was something like this:
E: “Mama! I no like it!!”
Me: “I know, sweetheart, but it is so good for us, so we are going to take it.”
E: insert pouty face here!
I would give it to him and immediately hand him a small shot of orange juice or milk. Then I did a little dance and sang, “Drinkmilkdrinkmilkdrinkmilk!” Or I used orange juice with the song.
The funniest thing happened one day early on. I was taking my FCLO after he had. He was still at the table, watching me shake my head while getting it down. We were still getting used to it. In the middle of swallowing, I heard a little, high-pitch voice yelp: “Bink miwk, Bink miwk, Bink miwk!!!” (Drink milk, drink milk, drink milk!). I choked the rest down because I was laughing so hard. The routine was so familiar to him.
6. Practice Daily.
Whatever you start, make it a habit to do it every day. If a child knows it happens every day, they are usually less likely to fuss later on. Plus if you are starting a good habit, it is best to do it daily for your health, for most things.
7. The Sneaky Method
I have been known to give my child things while he is watching tv or otherwise distracted. Gasp! How dare I! But he is much more likely to guzzle down an entire cup of broth while Mickey is explaining shapes than if I were to just give it to him. I wouldn’t advise turning on the tv for the purpose of giving your child something they don”t like to take. But if the opportunity arises, an occasional opportune grab is definitely in order! I have also been known to produce a spoon of FCLO and a shot of orange juice while Dumbo is on. Ahem. This method is best done when the new product or food has already been implemented for a while.
Praise, praise, praise, and praise some more when your child takes what you give them! Don”t be general and just say “Good girl/boy.” That gets old quickly. Be creative. The following are some suggestions.
“What a big, strong kid you are!”
“I know you don”t like this, but I am proud of you for listening to Mama. You are a great listener!!”
“Hooray! You are going to be sooooooo healthy!!”
“You are brave for trying new things!”
“Mama loves when you take your _________. It makes me happy!”
Stress how you feel with positive words when you describe your child”s action: cause and effect. Next time, your child will want to cause that positive effect.
In some circumstances, a reward may be applicable, especially in a child that regularly resists. Stickers are good rewards. I tend to use orange juice, because it is sweet and E doesn’t normally receive it unless he has taken something I ask him to take. It is kind of like conditioning, I suppose! Perhaps you could choose something you wouldn’t ordinarily give your child and save it for times like these, in very small quantities. Like I mentioned above…E only gets a shot glass of orange juice after cod liver oil. Broth and coconut oil are taken alone or followed by water for E.
10. When All Else Fails.
Some kids are really stubborn. Trust me, I know. My son is extremely spirited, and usually very stubborn. By following the above steps, we have eliminated many probable struggles. But I know there are special circumstances. I believe parents need to take an immovable stance, or be creative if the immovable stance fails.
My son will absolutely NOT drink herbal tea. I have no idea why. I have tried everything. So I have begun making tinctures of almost every herb I have to have on hand, because I can get him to take a few drops of tincture better than a cup of tea.
For broth, you could make gravies, reductions, cook rice or pasta with it, and even steam vegetables in it.
I have heard of adding FCLO to smoothies or applesauce. The latter seems a more viable option, although my personal preference is to just get it over with. And because my son is still small, I wanted to condition him to not mind the taste. It worked! See what works for you!
Remember, you are in charge of your child”s health! A parent doesn’t need to demand things of their children, but if you use the above steps with love and gentleness, it may be easier to get your children to take healthy things. A demanding and forceful nature will not help endear your children to be healthy. With loving guidance, clear boundaries, and understanding, eventually many of the steps will phase out. Taking FCLO in our home now is a quick and painless process. Or only routine is: calling E to the kitchen, spoon, FCLO, orange juice, lots of praise. My son dislikes avocado more than his FCLO! If you haven”t introduced any of the above products or foods because you are afraid of how your child will take it, I challenge you to try it this year. Sooner than later! Your child may surprise you. Best wishes to you and your family!
How Do You Get Your Kids To Take “Ickies”?
Confused about vaccines?
Get our FREE no-nonsense vaccine guide. Answer your questions with rational, fact-based information instead of fear.