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What To Do When Your Child Refuses To Eat

Many parents go through the same concerns with their kids’ eating habits.

We often feel that our children don’t eat enough, or not enough fruits and vegetables.

We also worry about them being hungry and so prod them to take a few more bites after they’ve stopped eating.

According to experts, this kind of behavior can actually be quite harmful to our children’s relationship with food.

By doing so, we prime our kids to look for cues coming from their parents, instead of listening to what their bodies tell them when it comes to eating.

When we push our children to eat even when they’re full, we force them to choose between listening to their own hunger cues and obeying their parents.

What to do when your child won't eat

Key Takeaways:

  • Studies have shown that pressure tactics impact the eating habits of children and they feel controlled and intruded on.
  • Parents should encourage their children to eat without harming their bodily cues and promote healthy eating.
  • Make sure to follow a schedule when it comes to eating your meals and your snacks, as it will teach your child when and where to eat.

Using forceful language or even making requests for kids to “eat one more bite” may damage kids’ eating habits, but it’s not the only solution parents have. In fact, parents can use methods that encourage children to eat without harming their natural bodily cues.”

So what should you do when your child won’t eat?

The best way to encourage children to develop healthy eating habits is to talk to them about it.

Discuss hunger and fullness. What does undereating or overeating look like?

Show them healthy portion sizes and what their bodies actually need to develop.

Include healthy options with every meal, and let them choose when they’re full.

By scheduling meal and snack times, your children will learn to eat enough, to avoid getting hungry before the next meal is scheduled.

Focus on what they eat in a week, rather than per meal. This will show you what they actually eat over a period of time, and lead to less stress on your part.

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