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when a kid refuses to eat.

Posted by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:57 PM
  • 8 Replies

So tonight I spent my day slaving in the kitchen ........ ok who am I kidding, I made something simple thinking the kids will eat it because it's noodles (basically)... anywho I made them both a plate ... Elijah (who is usually my picky eater) loves it and is eating it like it's going out of style.

Anaya looked at it with the "stink face"

and was like "I dun wahn it" 

I go "Mamas you need to eat"

"No, I dun wahn it, it not guud it nashty" 


So I picked her up and told her that tonight she won't get chocolate milk while everyone drinks hot chocolate and eats cookies. 

Did I do ok? would you have forced her to eat? she's 2 btw.

should I really punish her for not eating? 

I'm so paranoid about building good eating habits, while I don't think forcing a child to eat something they REALLY don't like is that right way, when do you go past the bullsh*t and go HEY! I know this ain't just gross dude/dudette you bestah eat it! 

Thanks in advance for the advice and stories ;-)

by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 6:57 PM
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by on Dec. 9, 2010 at 10:01 PM

Even at 2 yrs old a child has to eat what is on their plate. Its hard becuz at that age the child is still young and so its even tougher trying to get thru a meal with out fustrations at times, but stick it out make her eat it and it will pay off in the long run.You dont have to punish her, but you can make her eat it the rest of the day as long as it isnt something that gets soggy or spoils easily. Tell her Im not giving you anything else to eat until this is all gone. After a while your lil one will learn to eat and do as you say.

Alot of people tell me Im a bit hard on my kids, but Im not cuz I Do NOT HIT, but I do have other ways of getting my point across and leaving a lasting impression with out resulting in pain...

My kids do not like veggies and beans, but they still have to eat it. I do not spank or yell about food at all to them. When my oldest was about 7 yrs old we had that talk about eat what ever I make and be grateful.She wanted to make a big fuss over beans, so I pulled up videos on youtube of Save the Children, like kids Starving in Africa and I made her Eat her food while watching the clips. She cried she was nervous and didnt want to eat anymore. I made her sit there and finish the meal and all while I talked to her about Appreciating having something to eat. It helped alot. Few weeks later she made a face about eating a salad I said to her Ya know theres a child out there who wish they could eat this salad and here you are being selfish and wasteful, lets look online and see what child would love this meal. She said Sorry mommy I will be thankful. Havent had a problem since then, and now she is more appreciative and respectful esp at other peoples homes when meals are served regardless if she likes it or not.

Same when it comes to doing the dishes, she has complained now and shes 10, and I remind her that there are kids out there who Wish they could do dishes becuz it means they had a meal so be grateful for whatever you have to fill your belly and watever work you have to do to keep that food coming. Even my Autistic son, who is very picky eater already knows he better not make a complaint about food and he must eat it all, and many know Autistic kids are picky, but I stick to my guns and I got him trained that he eats his veggies and beans faster than my so called normal child.

I believe that this works becuz it not only gets a child used to eating what you tell them too but also to really think about and be greatful about each meal they receive. I have noticed how my oldest was the first child in her class to want to bring as many can goods to the school for The Needy Families for the Thanksgiving holidays and was really sincere about wanting to make sure I gave the BEST cans of food not just what she doesnt like to eat. She is actually more caring than I could ever imagine.

by on Dec. 10, 2010 at 8:22 AM

when he was that age he ate everything in site so I never had that problem lol. But now that he's 4 if he does that to me I tell him he has to eat it, if not he'll be sent to his room with nothing to eat for the night and no juice either. He'll usually get up and go to his room but 10 minutes later he comes back out and sits down and eats lol.

by Silver Member on Dec. 10, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Thanks girls! 

I think I am going to start making her eat everything like you said Dee.. even if she doesn't eat it now she has to eat it later.

by on Dec. 10, 2010 at 3:53 PM

It will pay off, she will be healthy have beautiful teeth and be able to enjoy different cuisines at an early age. I remember when I was a kid and my grandma would take my older sister and I out to eat and I would have to get the kiddie menu where as my sister who is only 2 yrs older got to get the Adult menu and it really pissed me off. My grandma said Why would I order you something so plentiful and expensive when you arent interested in trying new things.So when our meals came and I was quickly done eating my food my grandma and sister were still eating and really enjoying their meal. Thats when I started to learn that when I Limit myself others will also Limit me and I didnt like that. Also letting your daughter help you prepare meals even peeling the apples, shredding the lettuce,putting groceries in the cart help encourage wanting to try the new foods and appreciate the meal when prepared. ya never know she may one day be the next Iron Chef just becuz you sparked an interest so early in her.

Ways to Encourage Healthy Food Attitudes

There are numerous ways in which parents can send a positive message about food and body image to their children:

  1. Try to figure out what message a child who won’t eat is trying to get across. Often the mere attention that she gets during the food fight is what the child is craving. Take the focus off the food, satisfy whatever other need the child has and she may be much more compliant to eat her food.
  2. Teach the child to respond to the different kinds of hunger with appropriate responses. Hugs and quality time for a heart hunger, food for a tummy hunger, drinks for thirst and distraction for head hunger.
  3. Involve children in food preparations from an early age. Give them simple tasks such as tearing lettuce or packing lunch boxes. Give them choices about food preparation, for example mash potatoes or baked potatoes. It gives them a sense of autonomy if they are able to choose how they want their food prepared.
  4. Put a “help yourself” snack drawer in place filled with a variety of healthy foods. This will prevent children from feeling deprived of food and give them a sense of control about what, when and how much they eat.
  5. Avoid trying to get them to eat with “deprivation statements” like “If you don’t eat this mommy will or daddy will”. It may impart the message that the child must eat over and above the current capacity because food will not be available later when she is really hungry.
  6. Use non-food treats as rewards. Get ways to tell children how special they are without food involved. Treat them with family fun times without food being at the centre.
  7. Be careful of subtle messages conveyed by fairy tales, books and toys. Some well known stories have the underlying assumption that prettier is better and to be different is to be inferior.
  8. Parents should watch the messages that they convey about their own and each other’s bodies. If the parents are constantly on a diet or continually putting their bodies down the child may soon start to think that food is something to feel guilty about and look at herself over-critically as well.
  9. If a child just says that she’s not hungry, tell her that it is quite fine, but that mom would love her presence at the table because the whole family enjoys talking to her. Set a place for her and offer her food without persisting that she eats anything. If she is really not hungry she won’t eat, but if she was just distracted, she’ll soon be eating with the rest.

With childhood obesity and childhood eating disorders on the rise, it may be wise to tread with wisdom as far as children and food are concerned. A few simple measures instituted at home may go a long way to prevent childhood eating disorders.

Read more at Suite101: Toddlers and Food Attitudes: Encouraging a Healthy View of Eating in Early Childhood
Quoting Joqui:

Thanks girls! 

I think I am going to start making her eat everything like you said Dee.. even if she doesn't eat it now she has to eat it later.

by Silver Member on Dec. 10, 2010 at 4:42 PM
I have problems with my 4 year old. She eats but not much food and she gets distracted easy because the boys finish faster.

One of the best tips I was taught is to hand them an empty plate while everyone is eating. Then once your child realizes everyone is eating, offer them their least favorite first.
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by on Dec. 10, 2010 at 4:58 PM

 I don't know, I am guilty of making my dd something different if she won't eat. She is now 3 and I have been making her eat more of my foods and it has been slowly working, I make her at least try it and eat a little , but I won't foce a full plate of it on her.  Today she ate a small bowl of rice, something she would never eat before! I was happy :)  Anyway, try it your way and see if t works!

by on Dec. 10, 2010 at 5:28 PM
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by Member on Dec. 10, 2010 at 7:31 PM

We made a deal with Ale when she was about 2: she is not allowed to say "I don{t like it" until she has at least tasted it (and we are not allowed to say : it{s awful, or ewwwwww, just "I don´t like it")... and when she turned 8 we changed it to she´s not allowed to say she hates a veggie until she has tried it cooked in 4 different ways! LOL! It worked/works for us!

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