Baby's First Year · Parenting

Feeding your child

Baby sitting at the table and eating dinner using hands picking food from a child-sized plate

One of the questions that a client asked during a Healthy Eating Series program was: What should I do when my child does not eat everything on his plate?

This is a very good question and believe it or not, many clients have asked this same question.

So what do you do?

Some of us can think back to a time when we were young and during mealtimes our parents or grandparents told us to “eat everything on our plates” or to “clean” our plates.

How did this make you feel? Especially when you knew you had enough to eat and were not hungry anymore.

Using too many verbal encouragements like “eat everything on your plate” may cause children to form a negative relationship with food and develop unhealthy eating habits.

Experts have identified a division of responsibility when it comes to feeding a child. What does this mean? Let me explain this in more detail.

Children decide: Parents decide:
How much to eat if they are hungry What foods are served to their children  
Whether or not to eat Where these foods are served  
  When these foods are served   

This is important, as children are learning to trust their internal system when it comes to food.

They are learning:

  • to eat when they are hungry and
  • to stop eating when they are full

This can help set them up for developing a positive relationship with food and eating for the rest of their lives.

When providing food for children especially for the younger ones:

  • use child-size plates and utensils
  • offer a little at a time on child-sized plates and if they want more they will ask for more.

Following these tips provides food for thought and sets up a win-win situation for both parents and children. Learn more.

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