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Talea - posted on 03/22/2011
I agree with Jenny sometimes they just won't stop to eat on their own. I also think grazing (eating when they want) can lead to problems with getting families to the dinner table. So what I've had to do with my third son is make him eat at least a few bites of whatever we are having, then keep him from raiding the fridge at whim. That said I also have planned healthy snacks twice a day with a dessert which is often something fruit based but I will generally either make or buy something like a cake or icecream once a week and no dessert without eating what's on your plate - there I do not serve big portions and I give them the option of getting more while reminding them if they have room for dessert then they have room for what's on the plate if I get the "I'm full, can I have dessert" line. I don't force foods they don't like though but I do make them taste things more then once if it's not something we have often. Most of my kiddos though it's not a problem.
Also kiddos go through phases where they just don't eat as much at times and then in a month they will eat you out of house and home. I asked my parents about it (Mom was a pediatric nurse for years and Dad was an ER tech) as well as my pediatrician when my oldest was almost a year or so. He said as long as their growth is normal and their weight is good not to sweat it. He will eat when he's hungry. Basically e have learned to schedule our eating now even with my youngest. 3 meals and 3 snacks with water to drink between those 6 if they are thirsty.
Jenny - posted on 02/13/2010
I do force my son to eat. Otherwise he wouldn't eat anything at all, he would rather play with toys. I fix him dinner, then let him pick at his dinner while I eat. Then I make him eat 3 bites of everything on his plate (because my son is 3 years old). 3 bites of veggies, 3 bites of main course, etc. I tell him he can eat more if he wants to, then I tell him that he has to drink all of his milk before he gets down from the table. Sometimes he eats more, but usually he just drinks his milk so he can get down. I don't force-feed him, though. I remind him constantly to "take a bite" while he is busy talking to us at the dinner table. Just make sure you are offering good, healthy food and not junk, and cut out the snack foods, and your kids will be fine. Good luck!
Heather - posted on 01/18/2010
We don't force our daughter to eat, if she tells us that she is not hungry we set her plate aside and let her eat when she is hungry. We don't do dessert normally cause she doesn't eat with us so we let her eat when she wants and if it not to late we do a healthy snack later on.
April - posted on 01/16/2010
You child will eat when he is hungry. He will not starve to death. Just offer healthy choices and if he chooses not to eat.. save it for later for when he decides he is hungry. Try not to give too many snacks during the day and keep meal times on a routine schedule, that will train him to be hungry at certain times of the day. Forcing a child to eat just causes anxiety of both ends but you do need to be firm about not eating junk if he's not going to eat the healthy food he is given. Vitamins are also an option for children who refuse to eat.
Melonie - posted on 01/14/2010
No! I have lots of exp with eating issues!!! When my son was 1 he only weighed 17lbs, and was diagnosed as "failure to thrive" loooong story short. we saw every specialist under the sun and even had a Doc want to give him a feeding tube. Went to a feeding clinic in Columbus, Ohio and they helped soo much. He is now a healthy, but thin 6 year old. Drives me crazy when he doesnt eat, but forcing your child to eat just causes more anxiety for both of you and makes the problem worse. If your worried about nutrition Pediasure is a great option, but you have to be careful because it will fill them up and make them not want to eat, which was part of our problem!! Some kids are picky and you have to find healthy alternatives and they will eat when they are hungry. Make sure that when the family sits down to eat that they sit with you, even if they don't eat. Kids have a natural ability to know when they are full, so forcing them to eat only causes more issues. Good Luck!!
Christina - posted on 01/12/2010
It's never a good idea to force kids to do anything- depending on their age and development you can do different kids of damage. In my daughters case, she has always been under the 10th percentile for age/height/weight. As long as whatever they do eat is a healthy and balanced diet (and their head circumference is growing at the appropriate rate), they will be just fine. Just as babies eat as much as they want when they're born, so do young children. At this point in their lives they haven't "learned" how to override their hunger yet- so I would just be sure everything they consume is healthy calories.
Leanne - posted on 01/04/2010
Not at all! Encourage yes, but never force. I also dont think you should use food as a bribe or reward. We dont eat desert much but when we do I never say they have to eat all their veges or whatever or thay wont get any because I can remember as a child stuffing myself full so I can have dessert & then eating even more having dessert! As Adults we save room for dessert and kids can too - we must remember they are much smaller than us and their tummies are only the size of their fists so they will only eat as much as they need - as adults we have 'trained' our stomachs to take more than enough and have stretched them. Also, I never make them eat anything they dont like - our family rule is you have to taste everything on your plate but you can leave it if you dont like it as long as its been tasted.