Most of the time when it comes to young children, all I hear from other parents is that their children will not eat and what good little eaters they think my children are. All I can think is the opposite; how I wish that my children would leave food on their plates from time to time.
My children have always been on the upper end of the weight percentile and it has been a constant struggle to get them to stop thinking about food. This is a difficult topic for me to share, but I want to share it, so that other parents struggling with children that love to eat may have somewhere to turn.
First serve healthy food only. My kids do love food, but vegetables can be a difficult subject in our house just like any other house. When one of my children wants seconds on the part of the meal they liked, I won’t let them have it until they eat their veggies. Sometimes it works and other times they just decide they are full and ask to be excused from the table. I believe children either eat what I make or they don’t eat that night, I will not make them something different. This can be hard when your children make you feel like you are torturing them, but if you are serious about having them eat healthy, they will not go hungry. They will eventually eat what you put in front of them, so make sure it’s a healthy option.
Never use food as punishment or as a reward. Using food in this way will create an emotional attachment to food giving them a need that needs to be fulfilled that will only be fulfilled by food. Distraction would be a better method rather than punishment. We have to find ways to get our kids thinking about playing rather than eating.
Portion control is just as important for children as it is for adults. Using small plates and a tablespoon of each food group for each age of life for toddlers is a good way to measure serving sizes.
Exercise is actually an area in my family that needs improvement on and I would love any advice. I try to be a good example to my children and I run and play games with them outside. I even encourage them to go outside and play in the rain, but one of my children just loves to find any activity that involves sitting and I’m at a loss as to what to do other than dragging them around. I’m thinking of signing them up for sports. What would you do?
By guest blogger, Louise Bishop, MomStart