Eating Problems in Children

The child may not want to wait until mealtime to eat and you may find it difficult to manage to have a family dinner with the parents and children enjoying a happy meal together. There are so many things that can be frustrating. Here are some tips that might help you in handling some of these eating problems more efficiently:

* Avoid family bickering and arguments during mealtimes and keep it pleasant.

* Children may take time to learn proper table manners and etiquettes. So, be patient.

* Children who don't eat or don't eat enough at mealtime, should be offered nutritious snacks, after one or two hours such as fresh fruits, vegetables or whole-grain crackers. If the child refuses to have snacks too, he may be willing to eat more at next mealtime. Offering a variety from time to time will make sure that your child doesn't suffer from malnutrition.

* Do not let the child play with toys, read books or watch TV while having their meals.

* Do not threaten, force or bribe your child to eat and do not punish him for not eating. Simply accept his refusal and do not seem to be upset about his refusal. Your child may just be refusing to eat to seek attention and your disapproval may just prompt him to repeat his actions.

* Having meal at a fixed time each day is a good habit for children and teaches them to be disciplined and punctual too. It may also be helpful if the family members have fixed seats at the table.

* If a child insists for the snack, you can give him a larger portion, if the mealtime is still far off. However, if the family meals are within an hour, just give him a small portion of the snack and tell him that family will soon be having lunch or dinner.

* It is better to tell a child that it will soon be the time to have family lunch or dinner 10 to 15 minutes before mealtime, so that they can settle down well and ward off the tiredness or excitement from their activities enough to have their meals at peace.

* Tell the child that it is good to eat together and that he should stay at the table until everyone has eaten.