Getting a toddler to sit down and eat can be a challenge. I've heard this from every other parent I've talked to. So why was I surprised when I started having troubles getting our little man to eat? No clue, but I'm not going to waste time worrying about it. My strategy most times with him is: "quick, distract him!" In this case my go-to distraction is ketchup pictures.
During one trip to Daiso in Seattle, I ran across a small condiment bottle that didn't have a whole in the top made yet. This allowed me to cut the hole as small as I wanted, which would be perfect for decorating bento's. Or meals in general. It all started with me making "ketchup stars". I would sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and draw out shapes as I sang. Dean was really into it, so I started doing it more often.
When Twinkle Twinkle Little Star didn't work, I started singing another one of his favorites, Boku Wa Kuma, and started to draw bears. The combination of singing and him watching me draw the designs seemed to get him interested in eating. Most of the time it's only for a few bites, but I feel like even then I'm still winning the fight. His excitement for the ketchup designs has inspired me to get more creative with it.
Thomas the Train, for instance, has a black smoke stack made of sliced olives, and white smoke made of cottage cheese. The face is so terrible, but Dean thought it was the best thing ever. I was barely able to snap the picture before he dug into his food. That's a big win in my book!
Trixie from Toy Story is a current favorite character of his right now, so she's popped up a few times on plates. Drawing dinosaurs is hard! Luckily my kid isn't a critic. He even recognized BB-8 despite the botched "thumbs up". Buzz Lightyear and Peppa Pig were both successes as well. This is something I can see myself continuing for as long as he likes it. It doesn't take much time to do, it's actually pretty fun, and it seems to get him to eat with less hassle.
Some other pictures I've thought of doing in the future are a line of trains (Thomas, Percy & Gordon), Itsy Bitsy Spider, a tractor, a big red London bus (of Tractor and Bus fame).
Are there any little tricks that you do to help get difficult eaters to eat?