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How can I get 5 year old son to eat dinner?

Right so here we have a child (3rd of 6) who flatly refuses to eat what most people class as a proper dinner, i.e. meat/poultry/fish with veg. He has been like this for well over a year now and I'm at my wits end. I keep getting told not to worry as he is still eating food. He used to eat the meat with mash potato but now has got to the stage where he won't even do that. He will eat things like baked beans in tomato sauce so I thought "Hey I'll try putting tomato sauce on his dinner". You've guessed it, that failed. Any suggestions would be gratefully received. Thank you in advance.

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Asked by Creating78 at 2:37 PM on Dec. 30, 2010 in Kids' Health

Level 12 (862 Credits)
Answers (17)
  • Quit catering to him. If he doesn't eat what you fix, he doesn't eat. He can make any combination with what you serve but I wouldn't make anything else just special for him.

    Answer by Jademom07 at 2:41 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • I know this probably isn't what you want to hear, but don't worry about it. Give him his daily vitamin, offer him healthy foods, and he'll eventually get with the program. We are no longer in the days of wondering where the next meal is going to come from. Skipping a meal here and there isn't going to guarantee starvation. We live in an obese society because our eating habits haven't progressed along with the rest of our lifestyles. There was a time when people ate what they could when they could because there was no guarantee of the next meal. We no longer have to worry about that. So don't sweat it. :)

    Answer by tommy_mommy at 2:43 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • If he's getting a good breakfast and a decent lunch, supper isn't such a big deal. In fact, there is nothing wrong with him wanting no meat (that's what it sounds like from your post). He may not like the texture or taste of meat so quit forcing it on him. Beans are great sources of fiber and protein.

    Answer by twinsplus2more at 2:45 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • So you have 6 children and the 5 yr old is the 3rd. Probably he feels this is the only way he can get your attention. This is the only special way he can be or get something special. Don't give him anything other than your other children. If he is hungry he will eat it. You can tell him, if he doesn't eat his dinner he can't have anything else (no treats, no anything). You can tell to him, this is the dinner, nothing else. So if he doesn't eat and he will be hungry later, he still can come down and finish his dinner (you can put it in the fridge and heat it up when he find out that really nothing else just that food. I would sit down with him and talk about being special or get special things in the family is not getting special food. It means that you spend some more time together.


    Answer by adriennfaklya at 2:47 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • Does he end up getting nothing to eat, or are you giving him other things to eat?

    If he is eating something else at dinner, I would stop that. All our kids sit at dinner with us. They have to take a bite of everything, but don't have to eat it. Generally there are a few things I know they will eat. However, if they won't touch stuff on their plate (the veggies/meat) they don't get seconds of the bread or fruit, or whatever it is they like. They have to eat some of everything to get seconds on what they like. And they don't get thirds of something unless they finish what they were originally served. Sometimes they go to bed without eating anything. But they choose not to eat.

    If you aren't fixing him something else and he is not eating every single night, then I would guess there are other issues.

    Answer by micheledo at 2:50 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • 2. Tell him, if he needs different food than the others, you have to cook more so you loose free time to spend with him. So if he would just eat his dinner like the others, you could finish with the cooking and cleaning up quickly so you could spend the more time with him to do something before going to the bed. He is seeking attention. If he show him, he can get that special attention without being tough or picky than he won't make scenes over the food. I know it is not easy. But you don't have to play too long. If he will see you mean it what you say to him than he will change.


    Answer by adriennfaklya at 2:50 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • My 5 year old rarely eats dinner. Usually he's had enough by that point. I don't force it.

    Answer by mompam at 2:53 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • I would not make a big deal and make up for it with better lunch or breakfast items, vitamins, or even those kid ensure drinks. Maybe have him look through a cookbook to choose a meal or even let him help cook with you. I do that sometimes and that helps with my kids some. Plus make meal time fun and even try family fun mag and website for good ideas. My vegs with dip, fruit with dip or even make things into shapes with cookie cutters or smiliy faces. He will grow out of it just like my girls go through stages as well.

    Answer by momindiana at 3:00 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • This may sound weird but make his plate "special". Don't fix him anything else but the dinner you cooked. Just doctor it up a little bit. If you made broccoli then sprinkle crushed cheetos on top. Or if you made pork chops, give him some apple sauce to dip it in. OR simply arrange his food in a different manner. Make his food look "fun" by shaping it like a plane or a house. He'll be more likely to eat it if he feels that "mommy made it just for me". Kids get bored with eating the same things and since there are other kids in the house he may also be jealous and just need a little extra attention.

    Answer by Dajennible at 3:02 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

  • Seriously PP - crushed CHEETOS?

    Answer by Anonymous at 3:06 PM on Dec. 30, 2010

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