Are you finding it challenging trying to make your children to eat? Have you tried everything you can to make them find meals interesting to no avail? I can imagine how frustrating it can be when after serving meals only for your children to reject them. Relax momma! I have been there before.
My first child, Dominion became a picky eater at age one. Before then, he was eating almost everything I served him until he clocked one year and then his interest for food became extremely low. At first, I thought he was sick which may be the reason for his lack of appetite. But I discovered that nothing was absolutely wrong with him. He was fine and healthy. Then, why wasn’t he eating the way he used to? I became so worried that I had to resort to force-feeding him. The thought of watching my son’s weight drop wasn’t what I wanted to experience. I had always love chubby children and the only way I could obtain this result was to make sure I fed them very well.
Come to think of it, is there any mom who doesn’t want to have chubby children? Yes, we all want to have them. So, I kept force-feeding my son frequently. Most times I had to spank him to cooperate. While some other time I had to bribe him with treat just to have him eat his food. To be honest with you, battle feeding my son was very exhausting and at the end of the day he would just throw up half of the food taken.
Sadly enough, he began to lose weight. For two good years, my son despised food. He preferred only snacks and juice, nothing more. Every other food that I prepared for him was boring to him. I’m very creative when it comes to cooking. In fact, cooking is one of my favourite hobbies. I like to make my meals appealing to the point that people asked me to set up a restaurant business. So how come was I having this challenge with my son who always refuse to eat? I found an answer to this question and discovered I was being too hard on him and also given him the impression that he had to eat whether he liked it or not.
So if you find yourself always struggling to have your child eat willingly, here are the tips on what you should know and do.
1. Respect Your Child’s Appetite: It is not as easy as it seems to be but this is the best way to allow your children to eat whenever they feel hungry on their own. There is no point putting pressure on your children, scaring them and forcing them to eat when they are not yet ready. I know it’s not easy having to wait till your children are hungry but that is absolutely the right thing to do. One thing I need you to clearly understand is that your children won’t remain on hunger strike for long. They will eventually go hungry on their own and request for a meal.
2. Avoid Distraction: When attempting to feed your children, avoid whatever that will be a distraction to them, thereby causing them not to focus on their food. For instance, their favourite television program can serve as a huge distraction, hence preventing them from eating. I noticed same issue with my two kids and had to limit it. Allowing children to watch their preferred program when they are meant to focus and eat their food will only suppress the hunger in them. It is advisable you limit distraction so they are able to eat.
3. Do Not Bribe: I usually tell my son this ‘until you eat, I’m not going to take you out to your favourite place’. Sometimes I would say ‘ I’m not going to give you your favourite snacks until you eat’ Doesn’t it sound like a bribe? Yes, it does. You needed to see how ready my son was because he didn’t want to miss having me fulfil my promises to him. Regardless, I suggest you don’t bribe your children with treats or gifts. By so doing, you will keep reminding them that any time they oblige to your instruction they will get something from you, unfailingly. And also, bribing your children won’t help them to eat willingly.
4. Set A Good Example: how about serving a meal for yourself and that of your children? When I was a little girl, I used to find eating alone boring and so were my children. Eating in the presence of your children compels them to eat also.
5. Make It Fun: Food is important but you should learn to make it fun. Children love fun! Apart from feeding your children, make it fun and interesting. The same way you make educational learning fun and interesting or play with your children so also is meal. Describe the importance of each ingredient used to cook the meal to your children and let them know how it benefits them. Use friendly body language and music to teach them the benefit of the meal and why their body need them.
6. Be Creative: Yes, be creative with food preparation. Learn to make your food appealing so your children can eat happily. For instance, if you want to prepare noodles, make it colorful by adding some vegetables like carrots, tomatoes or peas. With this, there is no doubt that your children will eat.
7. Recruit Your Children’s Help: At the grocery store or market, have your children help you select some food items or you can discuss with them what meal you intend preparing for the day and if they like the idea, then you’re good to go. But if they wish to eat their choice food, let them pick the food items they prefer.
8. Be Patient With New Food: your children may like the sight of the new food you prepare for them but may not really like the taste for the first time. Allow them to Express their thoughts about the food given them. It doesn’t necessarily mean they will never try the new meal. You just need to be patient and try again some other time until they get used to the different recipe.
9. Stick To Routine: Try serving a meal first before juice or fruit smoothie. You wouldn’t want to serve the drink first because your children may be compelled to finish it and end up leaving their meals untouched. So ensure your children starts eating and when they have gotten half way to finish their food, serve juice and then water.
10. Don’t Force: When your children cannot finish their food, don’t force them to. A few spoonful taken is enough to do a great work in their body, and as long as what you prepared for them is nutritious.
11. Don’t Be Short Order Cook: When your children are not cooperating with their food, have them sit still. They will definitely eat even though it’s just a few spoon. Don’t start showing pity to them by going to the kitchen to prepare their favorite meals. It will not be wise if your children becomes too selective with food.
12. Offer Supplements: In case, your children are still not interested in food, give them multivitamins recommended by your doctor. The essence of this supplement is to help stir up hunger in their stomach. Multivitamins will help your children to eat food.
However, If you have tried your hands on the above tips and nothing worked, consult your doctor for professional advice.