How do you get a 4 year old to eat?

Sari - posted on 04/16/2009 ( 4 moms have responded )

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My step-son will only eat waffles, chicken nuggets and hot dogs and bread but not together. The waffles and hot dogs we basically made him try them the first time and now he likes them. Everytime we try to get him to try something different he cries. I am concerned about his health because this is NOT a healthy diet.

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Jamie - posted on 04/16/2009

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Make dinner and thats it. Hes not going to starve himself. He may complain, BM may complain you arent feeding him, but there is difference between giving a child food and the child refusing you eat it. You certainly cant force a child to eat, just give them healthy options. Like I said he wont starve himself. I think more parents are worried about getting their child to eat then whats going in. Try focusing on that, its better to get in a few carrots or pieces of corn then to scarf an entire hotdog.  Remember you are the adult.

Lisa - posted on 04/16/2009

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One more thing to add... My son loves hot dogs too. I was fortunate to find hot dogs made with tofu at Wegmans. They don't taste to awful either. The other thing that he loves is macaroni and cheese. I searched labels and found the "healthiest" one I could. I have found that making my own mac and cheese is helpful too. If you try making your own waffles, try to add wheat germ or other healthy additives to the batter before you cook them. That way he is getting some of the nutrients that he needs. But when you make dinner, serve him what you are eating. If he doesn't eat it then don't give him anything else. He will cry and throw a fit, but only to get you to give in. It is hard at first, but he will eat something eventually. It is just a matter of when he gets hungary. He needs to learn early that you are not a restaraunt.



When we eat we tell my son how much he loves the food, even if he has never had it, and tell him how good it is. I will admit that sometimes I have to bribe him with a favorite treat, but at least he eats some of the meal.

Lisa - posted on 04/16/2009

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My 4 year old will go a day or two without eating sometimes. It freaks me out, but he just keeps trucking along. I spoke to his pediatrician about his eating habits. She told me to write down absolutely everything he eats, or drinks, for a few days. Afterwards I was very surprised how much he was actually taking in. I compared my results to the amount of each item he should be eating and much to my surprise he was not that far off. Before talking to my pediatrician I starting giving him a pediasure shake every morning. This helped alleviate my stress from him not eating. At least I know that he is getting some of what he should be getting everyday. And he loves the taste, so that helps a great deal. Good luck!

Emily - posted on 04/16/2009

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Does he live with you full time? If not it is going to be even harder if mom isn't exposing him to healthy foods. For now I suggest put what you eat in front of him. get him exposed. Don't create a pwoer struggle but be matter of fact. This is what we are having, it's very good, please be respectful of the energy I have put into cooking for us. Continuous exposure to a food makes it familiar and less frightning. Go ahead and fix him what he likes a few times a week. Bake your own chicken nuggets and serve them with a kid friendly side like plain pasta or fruit slices. If he doesn't eat anything but the chicken that's his problem but you've created exposure. Do breakfast for dinner sometimes complete with waffles. Read hot dog labels to get the ones lowest in processing. Kosher dogs are usually a better bet than regular ones. It isn't going to give instant results but you discovered he likes waffles there has to be something else out there! It could take around 15 exposures before a food becomes familiar. Until then get him a good multivitamin and keep trying.

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