Image Credit: EdMontez
This is a guest article from Allison Marlowe who is the founder of Global Winning Women, a global sisterhood where women empower each other to live extraordinary lives. She also coaches, inspires and challenges women in business to achieve new levels of success.
Q. My six year old daughter isn’t eating properly. I am very keen that she should eat a balanced, healthy diet and I try very hard to prepare nice, healthy meals but I can't help worrying when she refuses her food.
We didn’t have this problem when she was younger, she would eat anything, so why won't she do so now? She does eat her packed lunch at school. It's all very well when my mother tells me not to worry but of course I do.
A. I do understand how frustrating this can be but many children do go through phases of saying they dislike something even if they loved it just the day before!
So long as she is healthy and growing she is probably getting the nutrients she needs. Young children are very capable at regulating their food intake and as you say she is eating her packed lunch at school. Your daughter certainly won’t starve and she will eat when she is hungry!
The secret is to not make food a battle ground. Most importantly do not let your daughter see you over react at mealtimes. Your daughter realises that you cannot make her eat and, once this becomes a battle, increasingly this is an area that she has control over in.
So give her very little attention where food is concerned - keep it relaxed and stress free.
Here are a few practical ideas that you will find useful.
If your daughter refuses to eat anything, calmly take the plate away without a fuss. If she tells you later that she is hungry, remind her that the mealtime is now over and that she had the choice to eat her meal but she decided she didn't want it. Don't make her something else - just offer her something simple like a piece of fruit and tell her that next time you would like her to eat her dinner.
Finally give her plenty of praise. Praise her for her efforts, there is no need to wait for her to clear her plate.
About eParenting: eParenting was started by Jacqui O'Brien in 2004. At the time her kids were 1 and 4 and kept her nice and busy. Now they are teenagers and still keeping her pretty busy!