By Lucy Notarantonio
A little girl who ate ONLY turkey dinosaurs and waffles has broken her bad eating habits – thanks to her clever mum’s genius hacks.
Music theatre graduate, Karis Turner, 23, was determined to break five-year-old Scarlett-Mai’s unhealthy eating habits – so invented a colourful chart to encourage her five-year-old to eat something different to the ‘classic child meals.’
Karis from Heywood, Manchester, was desperate to ensure her she ate all her greens and tried new food, so liaised with Scarlett-Mai’s school to pick healthy meals for the year one pupil.
The single mum rewards her daughter’s healthier choices like salmon fish cakes and Quorn cottage pie with stickers and medals weekly -motivating Scarlett-Mai to ditch the dinosaurs.
Karis, said: “Scarlett-Mai wasn’t getting the nutrients she needs as she would refuse to eat anything but classic child dinners such as waffles and dinosaurs.
“I thought if I make trying new foods fun and a competition, she will be encouraged to change her ways.
“I purchased some plastic medals, trophies and printed off certificates and bought some happy and sad stickers to show what she liked and disliked.
“But so far, we have only had to use the smiley stickers as she has loved everything, and she can’t believe it.
“Before the chart, she wouldn’t even have a spoonful of anything that looked different to what she is used to but now she likes chicken curry, all-day vegetarian breakfast and lots of vegetables.
“She just needed a push into the right direction and now that we have got the momentum going, it is easy.
“I am able to pick her school dinners online and we sit down and discuss what she would like to try – she can have two stickers if she steps out of her comfort zone.
“At the end of the week, if she has eaten all her dinners, I give her a medal and we can do an activity of her choice like baking.
“Scarlett-Mai now enjoys most foods and she gets so excited to tell me at the end of school – her new favourite dish is cheesy leak and ham pie.”
The idea sprung to mind when Karis introduced a reading book chart and noticed Scarlett-Mai’s enthusiasm towards books had changed.
She picks five books a week to read and is rewarded with stickers – Karis says even her teachers have noticed the improvement.
She adds: “Kids need a push in the right direction, and I have helped Scarlett-Mai by using my imagination.
“These days a lot of parents my age are glued to their phones and only half heartedly help their kids with homework and reading.
“Whereas I make sure I dedicate 30 minutes of my day to Scarlett-Mai’s reading without any distractions.
“It has made our relationship stronger and her confidence is sky high as she is getting better and better.
“I was told at parents evening that her reading has improved, and she has started to buckle down at school.
“Kids love to feel appreciated and the extra half an hour reading every night means the world to her.
“She receives a certificate for her reading which only takes me a few minutes to create but they mean so much to her and gives her a sense of accomplishment.”