what to do if 4yr old wont eat what we give him and want his own unhealthy foods only was 12lbs at birth and is at 60 lbs now

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Debbie - posted on 10/12/2013

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Children will eat whatever you allow them. I find it helpful to purchase foods that will encourage healthy eating. Don't buy chips or high sugar cereals and juices. Even orange juice and grape juice when consumed all day contributes to obesity. Choose the actual fruit because it takes time to digest and keeps the child fuller longer.For instance, give cut up apples and small slices of cheese for snacks. When you purchase grapes or strawberries, repackage them in small snack-size baggies so they can be eaten individually and you control the portion. If you give crackers, control the portion. Children and families today "graze" all day on food and snacks. Cut out the grazing and set times when snacks and meals are eaten. Eat meals consistently at the same time, snack time could be 2 hours later. Nothing after say, 8:00pm. Children should be busily engaged in activities that encourage exercise and imagination. Something I have found that really encourages my hyperactive child (I had to cut out all table sugar to help her, which involved a total family dietary change!) is something I read about called the happy face token system. It helped me, as an anxious mother, to be more consistent in my discipline and allowed my child to make correct choices for her restricted diet. When she chose a fruit or healthy snack, I would give her a token or two with happy face stickers pasted on them. She loved them and wanted more. As she chose activities that allowed her to run off the hyperactivity, I would give tokens. When she could do a quiet activity and be still for 30 minutes, I would give her tokens. Then she could use the reward list that allowed her to choose something she wanted. These things were not necessarily purchased items, but rather things like, an extra snack, or have me color with her, or go for a walk. It could also include things like, have mom pick up my toys or sleep in a sleeping bag. (These are things she likes or doesn't want to do, but mom will.) Pretty soon, she learned what kinds of things she could eat and would tell me that certain things made her tummy hurt! There is a really good book called, From Combat Zone to Love at Home that talks about this happy face token system. Childhood diabetes is also a big risk when children are so heavy at this age. Help her realize she could get very sick by eating certain things, and as she fits into smaller clothes she will be able to run and play with friends easier. She can earn tokens for that too. She will do what you encourage her to do. She is learning from you. Teach and learn together.. Prayerful attention to your stewardship will help in amazing ways as well.

Carolyn - posted on 08/20/2012

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I have not tested this idea myself, but it was offered by an expert speaking on the subject of finicky eaters.

Let's say your kid wants oreos for dinner and won't eat the healthy food.

OK, you give him a plate with a few oreo cookies on it. Just enough to leave him a little hungry.

If he wants more, you tell him that was his dinner, his favorite. But that's all he gets and no more.

The next night, same routine. He only gets the treat and he's not allowed to have the good stuff that mom is eating, nor is he allowed second helpings of cookies.

Same thing the next night and so on. You just keep putting his favorite junk food in front of him as his only choice for the meal. He's having it "his way". Or is he? He may start to wonder if the favorite food is really so great. He may also start to wonder if getting his way is paying off!

According to the expert, two things will happen. One, he'll be hungry and want other food. Two, he'll be sick of being offered his favorite junk food as his only choice. The idea is that he'll now be open to other choices.

Worth a try if your child is overweight.

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