My child is a difficult eater

Tampering, whining and refusing is normal

As parents, we invent tricks to get children to eat and we cook things that we know won’t be a battle at the table. And this is exactly what we should not do! Children use the meal as a moment to experiment, see this as a form of growth! By giving in to the demands and whims of children, you unnecessarily give them their way. They get used to unhealthy, sugary and fatty foods, flavors that children prefer. In some cases, waiting or ignoring is the best option. Eventually your child will give in, because every child eventually wants to belong and participate. And experimentation comes to an end.

It is best for children to eat little or nothing for 10 days.

Children don’t just get sick or weak when they don’t eat much. Healthy children can quickly eat little or nothing for 10 days, without becoming ill. It is very important that children drink enough. Drinking enough for a child means: 1 to 1.5 litres of fluid or seven to ten glasses of fluid per day (preferably water). As long as your child is energetic and not (often) ill, you generally don’t have to worry. It is more important that your child eats a little bit of everything, than that the entire plate is emptied. They will then at least be given different vitamins and nutrients.

Seeing food makes you eat

Is your child still eating too little? Let a boyfriend or neighbor eat with you. Or let your child eat with someone else. You’ll find it’s eaten amazingly much, or things it refuses to eat at home. It’s not for nothing that School Fruit Programmes have proved effective; under ‘peer pressure’, children try more and are more inclined not to get to know themselves and therefore to just eat.

Involve your child in the meal

Being allowed to think and participate motivates. This also applies to children! So: make a shopping list together, let your child think about what needs to be done, do the shopping together, prepare the food together (in the meantime candy some vegetables inside where possible) and let your child brag himself. You will see that it works!

Don’t force your child to eat

Forcing your child to eat creates a battle at the table. Your child will only do more contrary things and will not eat because he knows you will get angry about it. By forcing your child to eat/drink his plate or bottle, he will not learn to listen to his own body, and to recognize his own hunger (when in doubt, consult with the maternity help, the GGD or the health clinic). Forcing a child to eat everything when it indicates that it no longer wants to, is a risk factor for being overweight.