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How to Get Your Child to Eat

Home > Everywhere > Kids | Fun Things To Do | Fun for Children | Food and Wine
by Anna Ritzema (subscribe)
I'm a mum from North East England taking a break for 6 months in Perth whilst on maternity leave. We're aiming to do as much as we can whilst falling in love with WA.
Published March 5th 2013
I have two children; the eldest is a boy who eats nothing and the youngest a girl who eats everything! When I say he eats nothing, it is not a gross exaggeration. His diet consists mainly of chicken nuggets and milk.

We have been to numerous health professionals, been on every method of feeding and listened to the countless advice offered by friends. I should also add we have had to listen to some very condescending advice which has brought me to tears many times. Our son is healthy, slightly slimline and in no way lacking energy!

The older he gets, the more we have come to realise that we are by no means alone in our quest to get our child to eat. Every mealtime could be ruined and our parent partnership does become difficult as we lose patience. So I have decided to share our advice and our experience, so if one trick works for someone else, then at least one of us is getting somewhere!

1. We stopped worrying about the lack of veggies or fruit and supplemented his diet with formula milk and vitamins. His appetite improved (in some children, a lack of vitamins suppresses appetite) and we could at least start getting food in!

2. We buy the "hidden" veggie burgers and sausages and often use a lot of "dippy" sauce to get him eating.

3. We encouraged watching children's cookery programmes such as " Big cook, Little Cook" and "I can Cook" and talked about new foods etc. We then made the meals into shapes of things ie. rockets, smiley faces, racing cars and encouraged him to help.

Hotdog racing car.

Rocket with spaghetti fire!

The Aussie delicacy...but on whole meal bread with Flora.

4. We made the table a fun environment.We got jigsaws from the local library and made him put a piece in every time he ate a mouthful.

5. We gave him a dessert regardless of whether he had eaten his main meal or not. Most times he refused it, but we didn't want to make food a prize or punishment.

Sticker charts have worked for a period of time and other reward systems. He eats well in front of other children, so we encourage going round to friend's houses and are lucky to have supportive friends who help us and don't judge us for chasing him around with a fork and then offering chocolate!

The biggest breakthrough has been taking the stress away from mealtimes and just trying new things with optimism.

So now, ... to tackle the sleep!
No one said being a parent was easy!
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