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Looking for opinions. Should and when do you start making your child eat their food.

My daughter is two and currently eats pretty well but sometimes she will only eat certain things or a little bit hear or there but not a full meal. I usually let her eat what she is wanting( within reason) but do you think there is a certain age when you should make them sit down and eat the meal or some of everything on their plate? What do you think is a good age? Thank for opinions.

 
myegoisprego

Asked by myegoisprego at 2:05 PM on Dec. 1, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (9)
  • I totally agree with tnm. Even our baby sits at the table with the family throughout meal times, and if kids don't finish their meals we don't force feed them their meal but they don't get food again until the next meal time.

    We expect our kids to eat a minimum portion from each food group for good nutrition. They are not allowed to eat just their mashed potatoes (for example) and claim they are 'full', but if they eat a few bites of each thing and then they are full, fine. They learn pretty quickly to not fill up on one item if they truly aren't very hungry. We don't cater to pickiness but do respect true food aversions where someone really just consistently can't stand a food item.
    riotgrrl

    Answer by riotgrrl at 2:22 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • I don't "make" my 6 year old daughter eat everything on her plate, she can always choose not to finish. But if she chooses not to eat her lunch, then she waits until dinner before the next meal is offered.
    aliceinalgonac

    Answer by aliceinalgonac at 2:10 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • i dont make any of mine eat. if they don't want to they know they will not be fed til the next meal or snack. i also firmly believe children should SIT when they eat or sit at the table until everyone else is finished. it's just good table manners imo.
    tnm786

    Answer by tnm786 at 2:13 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • I think Im going to offer my son 3 meals and 2 snacks. If you dont wanna eat lunch- your going to be a hungry guy come dinner and Im sure by then hell be ready to eat. EVERYTHING ON his tray..
    pinkcicle709

    Answer by pinkcicle709 at 2:07 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • If you make a huge deal out of the meal you can start problems. Sometimes I do insist that they eat, if I know they are hungry. My youngest is 5. Sometimes though, he doesn't touch a bite. He is not hungry. If that happens, I will offer a banana and a granola bar before bed.
    mompam

    Answer by mompam at 2:09 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • I'm not a big fan of forcing a child to eat. They are just like us...sometimes I can eat everything on my plate and other times I'm just not that hungry. When I know my son is hungry and he just doesn't want to sit still and eat ;o) he is 3 yrs. I will make it a challenge like I'll say if you take 2 more bits of whatever you can play an extra 5 mins. before bed or something just be creative.
    NaturalMomOfTwo

    Answer by NaturalMomOfTwo at 2:16 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • Thanks. I don't expect her to eat all her meal at all. I am not comfortable making them eat the whole plate. My biggest concern is she will eat all one thing like potatoes but nothing of the other stuff. I know she likes the other things because she has eaten them before and liked them. What do you think is a good age to start having them eat a little bit of each thing? think two is too young to start that process?
    myegoisprego

    Comment by myegoisprego (original poster) at 2:54 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • No, two isn't too young. My son turned two in November and he knows he has to take at least one bite of everything, if he chooses to eat nothing after that then he has to wait until the next snack/meal.
    missanc

    Answer by missanc at 3:40 PM on Dec. 1, 2010

  • My son will be 3 in January, and he's been a picky eater since he turned 2. I offer him 3 meals and 2 snacks a day, and I've never "forced" him to finish what I give him. Sometimes he ends up just eating a couple of bites and he's done. I had a hard time with that at first, but I'm trying to just go with the flow. I've learned that if he doesn't eat much of one meal, he'll usually eat well for the next, sometimes even asking for more. Just like what missanc said, if my child will gobble up one thing on his plate but not anything else, then that's all he gets until the next meal - and that's how it's been since my son was about 2 and a half.
    phoofy

    Answer by phoofy at 3:00 AM on Dec. 2, 2010

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