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How do you handle a picky eater at this age? (3-4 yrs old)

Do you make them eat it or tell them they can't have anything else if they don't eat it. Or do you make them something different as long as they have tried the food and honestly don't like it? How do you handle it?

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Asked by momoflilangel at 7:52 AM on Aug. 29, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Level 17 (4,138 Credits)
Answers (12)
  • by not giving in. If they don't wanna eat what you give em, then they don't eat. When they get hungry enough and realize that you aren't going to cave they'll eat what you made.

    Answer by Zoeyis at 7:56 AM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • Okay, first I would not start the whole making them something different because it never ends. At my house we tried 2 different approaches to this.

    First rule was you had to try everything on your plate and eat at least on thing in its entirety. For example: if we have chicken, rice, and green beans. You could try the chicken and the rice and eat all the green beans and be done. If you did not do that then your plate would get wrapped up and saved for later. That way if they were hungry later I would just take their plate out of the fridge and offer it to them.

    You have to remember kids will not starve themselves and at this age they are testing to see how far they can push you. As my children got older if they didn't like dinner they could make themselves a sandwich, something easy they could make. Lastly, don't try to force them to eat, and remember they have smaller stomachs then we do.
    Good Luck!

    Answer by cornflakegirl3 at 8:12 AM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • My kids from day one knew that they ate what I put in front of them or they did not eat, tell the next meal. I never gave into picky eating. My oldest DD came home one day when she was like 14 I think and informed us she is now a vegetarian. I told her, Ok, but we are not. And I will not change the way I cook/fix meals for you.  You eat what we eat or go hungry. That only lasted a week.


    Answer by louise2 at 8:19 AM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • I agree with the other moms here. I fell into the trap of making something different for our picky eater and it was very stressful. Wish I had asked for advice back then. GL

    Answer by elizabr at 8:40 AM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • I think it is ok if a child truely does not like a food you should not force them to eat it. I would not eat something I don't like. I did make my children try the item and then if they did not like it they could eat around that item. I had a child that had a very limited appetite. He would try a different item and then if he did not like it he could have a peanut butter sandwich or something like that but I would not fix him a completely different meal.

    Answer by nanny29 at 8:47 AM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • My kids (almost 2, 3 1/2, and 4/ 1/2 years) all are given the same thing we eat at a meal. They are required to try everything. They do not have to like it, but they do not get something else. They sit with us during a meal even if they choose not to eat what is on their plate. If they try everything and don't like something, they are allowed a little bit of seconds on what they do like. But if they don't clear their plate they don't get as much as they want of the good food (bread for example)! For the most part our kids are very good eaters and will try everything and eat most things. We started this around 18 months of age with each of the kids and stuck to it! In the beginning our oldest would sometimes refuse to eat for a couple of meals. Eventually he learned to try stuff - and he often LIKES it!!

    Answer by micheledo at 9:57 AM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • If my dd doesnt like what we are eating then she doesnt eat. She really isnt that picky of an eater though. She is required to eat a bite at least of everything before she is allowed to get off her chair.

    Answer by amandaeastman at 1:06 PM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • If my DS doesn't like what we're having, he can have toast. There are no desserts unless he eats dinner, though. He won't touch a vegetable, but I still put a teaspoon of them on his plate. I figure one day he will like them, like I did, but I won't force him to eat them. I remember gagging at the table trying to eat the broccoli my Mom made. AWFUL! He loves all kinds of fruit and gets a multi-vitamin to make sure that he's getting filling in any gaps from his diet.

    Answer by JawgaMom1 at 1:39 PM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • You cant make a child eat , my daughter's Dr. told me not to worry, that she would eat when she gets hungry. I have a picky eater too. No lie, My daughter ate a hotdog and bun for a week. Make them try the food and try putting cheese w/ it or on it . Good Luck

    Answer by Winerygirl at 7:00 PM on Aug. 29, 2010

  • All three of my kids were/are picky eaters. My teenagers will now eat anything I put in front of them but were VERY picky when they were toddlers. My 4 y/o... well I'm surprised that kid is surviving - lol. I took him to the doctor and told her "I'm not sure what he's eating because he's not eating anything I put in front of him" and she replied "Children at this age might be picky, just keep trying to put healthy foods in front of him and make sure that he's taking his vitamins and drinking enough". My son is at a healthy weight and height, of course I always worry, but if you are taking them to the doctor, if you let the doctor know that you are concerned about it, they will keep an eye on your child to make sure that they are healthy and within a good weight.

    Answer by 3livin4angels at 8:57 AM on Aug. 30, 2010

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