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We have a really hard time getting our five year old to eat dinner. He just wants what he wants rather than eat what the rest of the family is eating. Some evenings can just be horrible trying to get him to eat his dinner. He will refuse to try new things and it turns into a power struggle. Any advice?!

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Asked by msjmom at 10:08 AM on Oct. 22, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (8)
  • This is what I would do...Make his plate,,with a little bit of everything you are having for dinner on it..Put it in front of him,,Don't tell him to eat..Just go about eating your own food...If he says something like "I dont want to eat this" ..Just tell him thats all your getting,,Don't give him sweet drinks with his dinner ,,just water,,most times kids fell up on drinks..If he has eaten that day for lunch..He wont starve to death tell breakfast..Thats how I got my kids out of being picky,,,eat what I put in front of you or dont eat at all..It worked

    Answer by louise2 at 10:23 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • He got into the habit by giving in to him so follow louise2 advice--it is right on. I read an neat article by one mother--she said they were given two choices at meal time--either eat it or go hungry:-) A child won't starve but you have to be willing to win the battle no matter how long it takes. I encourage any mother to hang tough on the food issue--it makes a huge difference as they get older.

    Answer by Anonymous at 10:33 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • I am afraid of telling me kids to eat anything against their will. When I was a kid, I was told to always clean my plate. I was over weight most of my life. Now, I put a balanced meal on my kids' plates, and if they don't eat it, fine. Go play. I also don't like fighting at the dinner table. This is a peaceful, family moment. The instant one of the boys act up, usually they want more of one thing before they have finished eating the first helping, I make them go in a corner where the rest of us don't have to listen to it. We like our meal time to be happy, where people can talk to each other. I hope things get easier for you. Power struggles are never fun.

    Answer by McGregor at 11:12 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • louise2 is right! If you don't end the power struggle now, it will go on for years! Been there, done that! You have the Power!

    Answer by amydh at 11:31 AM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • i have a 3 year old i had the same problem but he only wanted sweets so at lunch i fixed him a plate and as usual he wouldnt eat but insted of giving in i told him if he didnt eat with us then he didnt eat that sounds harsh but he gave in pretty quick by dinner that evening he was so hungry i put a plate in front of him and he ate now he will try anything i give him he hates beans. you may have to do it a few times but it does work ,y son is the most stubborn one i had ever seen but a going a while with a hungry belly and it does wonders.

    Answer by mamma0860 at 5:20 PM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • I am lucky cuz my son will eat almost anything i think the only thing he doesn't like is pepperoni. Anyways offer stuff for him to dip his food in like ranch or ketchup i notice when my son acts like he doesn't want to eat something if i give him ranch or something he will eat it.

    Answer by teresalangston at 6:33 PM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • I love Louise2's answer because I always get concerned when my 4 year old won't eat. But she is a snacker. It is very frustrating to make dinner and then she won't eat. Also, even the kid friendly meals were a struggle - hot dogs, grilled cheese, mac and cheese. My son finally grew out of his pickiness and eats a good variety of foods now at almost 9 years old.
    I had a rule - try something new at every dinner meal - and it worked for my son. He now eats lots of different things. So my 4 year old tried that too and now prefers shrimp to mac and cheese; loves pizza, loves grilled cheese, eats chicken sausage, loves salmon sushi, and eats teriyaki stir fry. BUT, she still would prefer to snack than eat real food. I guess it is part of the age as well.

    Answer by Randi2ja at 8:38 PM on Oct. 22, 2008

  • when i got custory of my grandkids they would not eat any thing. becouse all there mother would give them is tv dinners it toke time any plenty of night of them going to bed hunger.for them ti eat what i make.what i did was make the dinner time a fun time like seeing who will finish frist.and then telling them if they eat all there dinner they can have a my 4 y.o grandson i cant go to bed hungery

    Answer by ldolphingirl at 8:10 PM on Oct. 30, 2008

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