Let me preface this by saying that I absolutely hate food battles and I absolutely refuse to fight, bribe, coerce any child when it comes to food. I'm very, very fortunate in that both my kids will eat just about anything (I honestly cannot really think of any foods that they don't like). We cook everything from scratch, and if they don't feel like eating what's on the table, they are welcome to a banana and a piece of cheese. This approach has always worked.
Now the problem: I take care of a little girl who lives in my neighbourhood. She's 9, and usually spends 2-3 hours a day here after school. Sometimes full days. This child has to be the pickiest eater ever. She eats cheese sticks (only one kind), crackers and juice. That's it. The mom alluded to the fact that she was at her wits' ends trying to feed her, but I didn't get the impression it was this bad. She starts complaining that she's hungry the minute she walks in (probably from not eating at school), and then not only refuses everything offered her, but complains and whines that it's gross, stinky, not to her taste... you get the idea. I've offered every kind of cheese, yogurt, nuts, crackers, dips... you name it. Forget any veggie or fruit. The mom has offered to send her a snack, and has a few times, but it's usually the highly processed crappy orange cheese stick with Ritz crackers. She eats that and demands more.
And this is where I run into trouble: my kids have now started clamouring for that junk. And why wouldn't they? The crackers come in brightly coloured bags, the cheese can be stringed into animal shapes... our unprocessed cheese and multigrain crackers look pretty boring compared to that. I don't mind them having it once in a while, but every day? Also, the mom has suggested I try to gently force her to eat other kinds of cheese, but I do not want to wage a food war, especially not in front of my kids. My 4 year old is already starting to repeat some of the stuff he hears her say about food (this morning he said his eggs were ``disgusting`` - the little girl's favourite word to describe the foods I offer her.)
Sorry this is long, but I don't know what to do. I should also say that I am not being paid for this - I volunteered to take her after school for the winter because my kids love playing with her and I'm toying with the idea of taking in 1-2 kids next year (and charging!!). I can definitely see myself having fun, but if I have to fight with kids over food, I'll go crazy.
Thanks for reading!