“Doctor – how do I get my child to eat?”
That is the question I am asked most frequently at my Parenting Consultations and Workshops.
Almost every parent I encounter has a child who “just won’t eat”. And mealtime battles are the stuff childhoods now seem to be made up of.
What I have realized parents are really asking when they ask –
“How do I get my child to eat?”-
– “How do I get my child to eat more than he wants to eat”
And my answer to them is – “Don’t even try!”
Always respect your child’s appetite – or lack of one. Your child is the only one who knows how hungry he is.
A person feels hungry when the body sends a message to the mind saying that is short on nutrients and needs replenishment. The message is usually read loud and clear by the mind and is tough for it to ignore. And so the person eats.
This mechanism is well and truly in place when a child is born and so the child is perfectly capable of deciding how much he should eat.
If your child isn't hungry, don't force a meal or snack. Never bribe or force your child to eat certain foods or to clean his or her plate.
There are 4 things that are likely to happen when you do this and none of them are good –
Allow meal times to be pleasant occasions. Encourage independence by serving small portions and giving your child the opportunity to independently ask for more.