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“My child is not eating, what can I do to make him/her eat more?”
This is one of the most common questions posed by parents to Paediatricians daily.
It shows feeding their children is one area most parents struggle with; especially with the infants and toddlers.
In this article, I will share few tips to ensure children are started early on the course of healthy eating.
If you struggle with your child in this area, you should find these tips very helpful.
Feeding is one of a parent’s most important jobs. It is how we help our children grow healthy and strong.
Mealtimes however are more than just food. Meal and snack times give you a chance to help your baby or toddler
Learn healthy eating habits
Feel important and loved
Feel understood and respected
Trust that others will care for her
Feel good about her body
Here are some ways to help your child become a healthy eater early!
1. Remember: Mealtimes are about more than food.
They are a time to connect with your child and to support her overall development. Talk with your child during meals and don’t let her eat alone. This helps build strong family relationships.
2. Create routines around mealtime.
Routines make children feel loved and secure. Establish regular meal and snack times beginning when your child is 9-12 months old. Routines help children look forward to each meal.
3. Offer 3 to 4 healthy food choices (that your child likes) at each meal.
Research shows that children will choose a healthy diet when they are offered a selection of different healthy foods.
4. Don’t force your baby or toddler to eat.
I know this is hard for some parents to take though but it is actually counterproductive to force-feed the children. This often results in children refusing the food and eating less.
5. Don’t give up on new foods!
Patience is the key. I often joke with new mums that they should add Patience as a middle name. Another good one is Perseverance. Don’t be quickly give in when the child refuses the new food after the first attempt. You may have to offer your child a new food 10 or 15 times before he will eat it. Yes!!! Please be patient. You may even have to revisit already abandoned one and you may be surprised it will now become accepted!
6. Turn off the TV (computers, etc) at mealtime.
The television can distract children from eating. It also takes time away from talking as a family.
7. Healthy eating and exercise go hand in hand.
So make active play a part of everyday family life especially for the older children
If you tried all and still have concerns about your child eating habit especially if affecting the child’s weight gain or activity level, you need to talk to your child’s health care provider especially the Nutritionist and Paediatricians so you can be further advised professionally.
REFERENCE: Here’s to Healthy eating by Zerotothree.org