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How can I get my child to eat?

We have been battling with her to eat forever. She just turned 7 yesterday. Whenmeal time rolls around before we even make her plate she starts telling us that she's not hungry. It's becoming a war zone at the dinner table every freaking night. I don't let her snack all day. She gets breakfast, snack, lunch, snack, supper.  Yet she hardly eats more than 4 or 5 bites at each meal. What can I do to get her to eat?!

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Asked by crazytexan at 10:57 AM on May. 29, 2011 in School-Age Kids (5-8)

Level 5 (64 Credits)
Answers (28)
  • I have the same problem

    Answer by RedDahlia82 at 11:03 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • It drives me crazy. We have tried everything I can think of, and now it's causing issues between me and dh.


    Comment by crazytexan (original poster) at 11:05 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • Would she eat more if she chose the food for dinner? I've just started doing that a couple of times a week because the 7 year old is getting fussier and fussier about what he "likes", and I don't want every meal to be a battle. Just a suggestion-not at all a once fix for all.

    Answer by meooma at 11:05 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • It doen't matter what we have, even if it's something she asked for, she just doesn't eat.

    Comment by crazytexan (original poster) at 11:08 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • *doesn't

    Comment by crazytexan (original poster) at 11:09 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • just tell her she has to sit there until she eats it all. my son 3 1/2 years is so picky he don't even like to try foods if he dont think they look or smell good , so if would rather do something else i tell him if he dont eat im not going to let him play or watch tv or whatever he wabts to do at the time.

    Answer by wildcatsgurl06 at 11:15 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • We have tried that, but I can't stand to listen to her bawling while I'm trying to enjoy my supper. We make her go sit in her room.


    Comment by crazytexan (original poster) at 11:18 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • Quit with the snacks, period. We offered the same snacks - once between meals - but they wouldn't eat at meal time. We cut out the snacks, and now they eat. They're finally getting to the point where they'll still eat a meal if they get a small snack - but it took cutting out all snacks to get there. She's also old enough to start helping in the kitchen - get her involved in planning the meals, helping shop, and helping you cook & dish up the meals - makes it more exciting, and they can see how cooking works. Let her make some of the choices - let her pick the veggie for each supper, etc.

    Answer by Anonymous at 11:31 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • I totally agree with cutting out snacks until she can learn to eat her meals. Believe me she won't starve if you take y snacks but she will however learn to eat what is given to her for her meals.

    Answer by coala at 11:41 AM on May. 29, 2011

  • This sounds like a battle & I think there are serious costs to "winning." (This cost is why there is so much advice to avoid power struggles & control issues around food when introducing solids to babies & toddlers.)
    I would suggest that you view the situation as a signal or symptom that something is off as far as control, and respond to it by removing the control issue. Have faith that you have a normal child who has normal food needs, and once things are right for her, she will get in touch with her own hunger/thirst signals & meet them. "Removing the control" IS your response to the situation, so avoid any impulse to strategize or leverage her in some way, to "make" her do something.
    You will likely feel anxious about this response, & anxiety triggers the impulse to take control. Try simply to notice & acknowledge those feelings. Remind yourself that this situation is a SYMPTOM of a problem but is not the problem, itself.

    Answer by girlwithC at 11:31 AM on May. 30, 2011

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