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how to get my 3yr old to eat

my three yr old won't eat without it being a war. mind you i do the war to get her to eat enough but i'm so tired of it. any ideas????


Asked by LovelyLiquid at 1:14 AM on Feb. 9, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (8)
  • You're letting it turn into a power struggle.

    Either she eats what's in front of her, or she doesn't.

    Take the emotion out of it - easy to say, I know but DS is 3 and I'm trying to so hard myself! What works best is matter-of-fact - here's your food, do it or not. No grazing, no snacking - the next meal is the next meal.

    A kid that age won't starve themselves.

    Just breathe.....

    Answer by Wimsey at 1:30 AM on Feb. 9, 2009

  • Is there a specific reason why? My son has had eating difficulties since birth and I have read alot about eating disorders, struggles, ect... My son happens to have food allergies and he eats basically what he wants to, I feel he is the best judge about what bothers him and what doesn't. He would make comments like "that makes my throat burn or itch". He had alot of swelling of the asophagus and an ulcer at age 2. I personally don't believe in controling what my children eat. I have different likes and dislikes than others and feel each individual does too. I would not appreciate anyone trying to make me eat something I did not like. But the best advice i have gotten from dieticians or books is 1) to make dinner with at least 1 thing that the like, maybe meatloaf and tater tots, they may not like the texture of the meatloaf but will eat the tater tots. 2) to always have bread that they like on the -cont......

    Answer by homom at 2:03 AM on Feb. 9, 2009

  • cont. from above....2) to always have bread and some jam on the table that they like so they can eat that. If its a healthy bread all the better, those whole grain whites are pretty good now, 3) They do not have to get the whole pyramid in at each meal. Snack time is always a great time to get them to eat a banana, grapes, apple with caramel dip, cheese and crackers, mini carrot sticks with ranch. Some nights everyone just eat cereal. Almost every dietician, councelor, doctor, book has said "do not turn mealtime into a battle", so many eating disorders and psycological problems (trust, control, relationship) stem from these episodes. My eldest was under the the lowest line on the weight graph until about age 9. As he gets older and can discuss and understand things, he makes better choices. Hope this helps. Just relax, before you know it you won't be able to feed them enough.

    Answer by homom at 2:26 AM on Feb. 9, 2009

  • I agree with Wimsey. Put the food on the table and there it is. If she eats, she eats, but that's what there is and there is nothing else until the next meal. When she asks for a snack or complains of being hungry simply tell her when the next meal is and that you expect her to eat then.

    Try smaller portions on a bigger plate if that would make a difference. If there seems to be a lot of food crowded on a plate, a lot of times that can seem overwhelming to them.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 5:21 AM on Feb. 9, 2009

  • mine he will eat but then decides he doesnt want anymore. Well to make sure that he gets it all we make different sounds while he is eating. IE a truck noise till it makes it in his mouth. He loves it and it works on helping him know what different sounds things make.
    Hope this helps.

    Answer by KortniLeeana at 9:12 AM on Feb. 9, 2009

  • My son is three and is very very very picky about what he eats when and where he eats it at.How long has she been not wanting to eat?Have you talked to her ped? My son since he was about two has eaten nothing but hotdogs ramen noodles and chips(once in a great while he will eat cheese pizza or spaghetti)I do give him V8 Splash so he gets all of his fruits and vegies and I crush up a childrens vitamin in his food. As long as she isn't under weight I wouldn't force her to eat.When she is hungry she will eat. Also have you asked her why she doesn't want to eat?

    Answer by dannyboysmom05 at 3:03 PM on Feb. 9, 2009

  • It's all about control - we have a similar issue in our house. My child eats a very good variety of food, just so very slowly and milk is an all out fight. So, two things that have worked for us - restaurant (she gets one thing at a time, she doesn't get over whelmed but what she has to eat, also has speed up her eating some) and dessert at dinner. She is not a big candy fan, but she likes a small something after dinner. She eats or that is taken away - we don't argue or conjole (much). The eat or go hungry doesn't work for us - she will just go hungry and the more hungry she gets the less she wants to eat - so we have to be more creative. It's maddening but don't let it be a control item for them - you control the meal. I have friends that set timers - didn't work for us, but worked great for them. Good luck.

    Answer by HAVMommy at 3:23 PM on Feb. 9, 2009

  • Why fight about it? She will eat when she is hungry.

    My almost 4 year old has been a pain about food for a long time. She is skinny and eats like a pig in the morning but is not hungry at night. I feed her double portions in the morning and deal with the two bite dinner. That is how she likes to eat and she is healthy so I am not worried.

    Answer by yakara77 at 3:37 PM on Feb. 9, 2009