How To Get Your Kids Eat And Regulate Kids Eating Habits
One of the biggest challenges for any parent is to make their children eat. But first of all, one myth that all parents should remove from their mind is that kids eat only a small amount of food or are picky eaters.
What you are experiencing now is what you have induced in the past. A child eats as much as he or she likes. It only depends on whether they are hungry or not.
We should all be cautious, especially in the case of children. What a child eats is directly proportional to his or her health, and healthy food will play a significant part in their all-round- development. Although it’s frustrating for parents, it’s a normal part of children’s growth and development.
There are several reasons why a child refuses to eat:
- They are hungry, but they are in a hurry.
- As they are more interested in understanding the world around them, their interest in food is limited.
- As they are playful and have other activities, food is not a priority.
So if you are one of those parents who often complain, why is my child not eating or hassle over the internet? How to get a child to eat when they refuse. Do not worry; we are here with a series of observations and solutions to help you out –
If your child refuses to eat anything, ask them why they do not want to eat it, there has to be a reason other than taste. You’ll be amazed to know when they will tell you about it.
Reward them for eating a meal or a dish they do not like. There can be a good reward for each meal, like more playtime, more screen time, a toy, a visit to the park, anything. We have to remember that healthy food items are necessary for most children’s physical and mental development, especially when they are in their formative stages.
Entice them with “HAPPY TOKENS”
When you sit with your child to feed him/her or are eating together, entice him/her by telling that they will get “HAPPY TOKEN” if they complete the food and “ANGRY TOKEN” if they don’t. Tell your child that he/she will be rewarded if they collect more happy tokens. The reward could be anything- a new toy or a pair of new clothes or even a trip to a zoo or movies. We have to remember that for most of the children, healthy food items are necessary for their physical as well as mental development, especially when they are in their formative stages.
Don’t Give in to Their Demands
If you want your child to eat green vegetables, fruits, and all other necessary foods, you have to build a habit in them. Most parents don’t do this; they do not imply this in their children’s early stages.
Parents, out of love and affection, only feed their children what they like. Later on, children build thinking that only that food is important and tend to repel any other food that you serve them.
It often happens that your child will ask you to buy food that is not nutritious or healthy. Don’t give in to their demands. As a parent, you must decide what food to buy for them and what food to keep at home. When kids feel hungry, they will eat whatever is available at home without making much fuss. If you want to buy them something they like which is not nutritious but only once in a while.
Break Into Smaller Meals
If you find your child hesitant to eat during the regular meal hours, give them five smaller meals instead of three big meals.
Your kids can eat at regular intervals and still maintain the intake of food in a balanced way. Give them a little breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Follow up with two healthy and nutritious snacks in between meals.
Design And Schedule Their Lunch
Okay, this is going to be difficult but not impossible. You just have to take some time make a chart or just write down things that your child not cheating and what are the things you want your child to eat and ensure that you present them with all the essential food items and meals from the next day, planning for a day will become planning for the whole life.
As a mother, stop worrying about why my child is not eating and start planning smartly. You will become one of those rare mothers who successfully created and regulated your kids’ eating habits.
Don’t Force Kids to Finish Their Meal
Kids stop eating after they feel full, so don’t force them to clean their plates. If your child is not eating, he is done for now. Never force food on them. We all know that it’s terrible table manners not to finish the food, but this rule doesn’t apply to kids.
But if you still feel that they should clean their plates, it is better to give small servings and multiple servings to your children. Getting your kids to eat like this and formulating their food in small quantities ensures that they finish their plate counts in good kids’ eating habits.
Make Their Opinions Count
Kids love eating or trying new food every day. Before you cook any meal, ask your kid what he/she wants to eat. This way you’ll cook the meal of their choice that they’ll love to eat. When you go out shopping for food, take your kid along and ask him/her to choose their favourite fruits/vegetables. Don’t buy anything more and ensure your kid eats them. Parents should be careful in inculcating their children’s eating habits, which can be a strong driving force in their development.
Kids eating food should be properly monitored, do not let them watch TV or engage in other activities while eating. When you sit down for lunch or dinner, make it conversational. Speak about why and how the food will help the child grow. Turn off the TV and keep the mobile away. Talk about family, work, relatives, or friends; ask your child anything about his/her friends, school, and studies. Keep the conversations going for as long as you are at the table.
Make Meal Times Enjoyable
When you sit down for lunch or dinner, make it conversational. Speak about why and how the food will help the child grow. Turn off the TV and keep the mobile away.
Talk about family, work, relatives or friends; ask your child anything about his/her friends, school, and studies. Keep the conversations going for as long as you are at the table.
Set Time Limit
It’s important to set a time limit for food. Tell your child in strict terms to finish the food within 20-30 minutes and not more. Children need to understand the importance of finishing the food on time.
If your child is not eating within the adequate time limit, you have to pay attention to it as this may become a habit in the future years of his adolescence.
Lead By Example
We all know that kids learn from us. How we talk, what we wear, how we behave, and what we eat are all important when we are around kids. As parents, ensure that you eat more fruits, vegetables, and grains, so your kids also pick the habit from you. Kids eating food is a daily routine and should be done without any distractions or side-by-side activities.
If a child refuses to eat anything, understand that he or she is in some way following your way of living, and you have to change yourself to change them.
While kids take an instant liking to some food, they will take some time to get used to some other food, and you need to have patience. It’s said that it takes about 10-15 to make a child start liking the food, so patience is required.
Please remember that every child is different with different levels of interests and habits. Kids eating habits should be monitored as well but should be done in an engaging, entertaining manner.
The one-rule-fits-all strategy doesn’t work with children. Have patience and don’t give up on the child.