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Getting 3 year old to eat(6 Posts)
My 3 year old has got progressively worse at eating. It's largely my fault I feel but am looking to turn it around. For those that have children who eat well can you give me your tips please?its causing me loads of stress right now. I'm going to start doing 3 meals a day with nothing in between which I'm guilty of not doing previously. Is this a good place to start? What else?
If it's any consolation my DS was fussy at three and will eat almost anything now. We didn't stop snacks when we tackled his fussiness but only offered fruit, so if he was genuinely hungry he could help himself to the fruit bowl but nothing else.
Another thing we did was not to let him remove anything from his plate. There was no pressure to eat anything, but it stays on the plate till he's finished. I found that if he knew he didn't have to eat it, half the time he'd have a sneaky try anyway when he thought I wasn't looking.
Absolutely no encouragement to eat and we also cut down on portions so that he could ask for more.
We also cut down on puddings till he had got over his fussiness, only having them once or twice a week. He could ask for more or have fruit if he was still hungry.
And the only things he could drink were milk or water, harsh I know but I think sweet drinks seem to set off a reaction where they slump, then snack then won't eat the dinner you've made.
Like I said, he'll now eat virtually anything.
Thank you - can I ask how old he is now?
13 but it didn't take that long to crack it!
If I remember we just had to be really firm for awhile and he soon got the message. Obviously at things like parties, heccoukd eat what he wanted
It isn't your job to 'get' a child to eat.
Your job is to provide the food you think constitutes a balanced diet and it is his job to select from that what he would like to eat.
Any pressure, encouragement, reward, sanction or cajoling is likely to result in him eating less.
Put the food out, preferably in serving bowls on the table with everyone eating together, let everyone serve themselves and have a nice social occasion in which you talk about everything but food. Don't praise him for eating, offer him tastes or comment on how much he has had. Just let him do his job.
Handling food can help so try to encourage him to help prepare food of everyone else, even if he isn't going to eat it. Being more used to the texture and the smell of a food makes it easier to try it when the time comes.
No matter how little he has eaten, just ask him if he has finished and take his plate away. Don't withhold fruit/yoghurt/dessert. That just teaches children that savoury food is unpleasant and must be tolerated in order to be rewarded with sweet food.
Keep every bit of the stress this causes you completely to yourself - I really do know how hard that is - and keep smiling and chatting as if you don't have a care in the world.
I have a 3yo and 15mo who are good eaters. I largely put it down to luck TBH but I can tell you what we do.
They've always eaten the same meals as us, and we eat with them where possible. I wouldn't ever serve something I know one of them won't eat in its entirety, but there may be some parts that I know aren't liked: it is up to them if they eat it or not, but no substitutes are given. I'll encourage them to try a little bit of everything (in a jolly "Ooo have you tried the X yet? It's really yummy!" kinda way rather than "you must try it!") but mostly I don't pay a whole load of notice, past really bad table manners, as I'm busy eating my own food. I try not to make a fuss either from them not eating or eating something of a more aquired taste: everything on the plate is a normal food, you eat it or not based on your preferences and its not something of note IYKWIM? If they aren't eating I'll gently remind them it's ok but there is nothing else until the next meal. We often don't have pudding so they don't hold out for it as it isn't a given, and if they are getting fruit with their lunch/breakfast I'll usually serve it with their sandwich/cereal etc so its up to them the order they eat but they can see everything they're getting. I do give snacks but not every day so again it's not something they can rely on/hold out for. I go by the saying of 'it's your job to provide a healthy meal, and theirs to eat it'.
We've recently had issue with the 3yo taking forever to eat her meals. I've bought a 30min sand timer which seems to be doing the trick. When the sand's gone the plate is cleared away regardless of what's been eaten. It's not that she isn't hungry, she's just too busy chatting/pulling faces at her sister/generally cocking about, so a visual reminder of the time running out (and the consequences!) have worked a treat.
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