Kate Barlow is one of Britain’s leading parenting consultants who trained as a nursery nurse and then worked as a nanny for many years. A move to the country prompted her to set up her consultation business offering advice and strategy to parents over the phone and email. After caring for over 60 children during the course of her career, if anyone can make the claim to be an expert, Kate can. Plus she’s also mother to Teddy (10), Nancy (9) and Mary (6).
As Brand Ambassador to WaterWipes Kate was keen to offer her insights on their latest survey that found 29 per cent of Irish mums and dads admit that they feel under pressure to “outshine” other parents.
“It’s only natural to get a little competitive sometimes, after all, you feel your baby is the most special and wonderful baby in the world, so of course you want them to know they are the most loved.”
Kate is a voice of reassurance and reason in this age of helicopter parenting, attachment parenting and baby-led parenting. Her focus is just, well, parenting parenting. She offers a clear perspective gained from over 20 years of raising kids.
When we sit down for a chat, I don’t beat around the bush.
“Kate, please tell me how to raise my child.”
Kate obliged by giving me her top 7 tips for picky eaters:
1 Try not to use ‘don’t like’ with regard to food, reframe it by saying ‘prefer’. “They say ‘I don’t like mashed potato’ and I say, ‘well how do we prefer potatoes, do we like them baked, boiled..?'”
2 Open them up to as many tastes and textures and keep offering them. “9 times out of 10 if they’re saying they don’t want it, it’s because they’re not hungry or they have something better to do.”
3 Kate recommends offering a child a food 10 times, cooked in different ways before it’s time to concede defeat. “I did this for my children and they eat paella, curry, Chinese food. The only foods I’ve had to abandon in our house is avocado and raw tomato.”
4 Healthy kids do not starve themselves, this is a time for asserting independence so try to relax. “They realise at this stage that they can say no. Don’t try to coax them into eating or trick them into it. Put it in front of them, give them lots of opportunities to eat, and then relax and talk about the day’s news.”
5 Try to eat with your child as much as possible and make time for meals as part of the routine during the day. “They all learn by example, if you, yourself, were given a plate of food and someone’s sitting there watching you, you’re probably not going to want to eat it.”
6 They are probably eating a lot more than you think they are. “Keep a note of what they eat and avoid allowing them to fill up on milk or a bottle.”
7 Make their meals tapas style. “They can help themselves and they can choose. Then they will probably have at least a small taste of each thing.”
Visit Kate’s website the Parenting Consultancy for more info.