Child not eating enough is perhaps the most common complaints of the parents seeking medical advice. After a year of rapid growth,toddlers gain weight slowly and so,of course, they need less food. Children between one to five years of age undergo the phases of poor appetite. Poor appetite at times , may be a symptom of certain underlying disease in a child. Regular health check ups and a growth chart go a long way to decide, if the poor appetite is actually a symptom of an underlying disease or just a normal phenomenon.
BE A ROLE MODEL- All members of the family should try to eat together. Children learn food habits from parents. So parents should eat what they want their child to eat.
RELAX- Don’t get angry,if the child doesn’t eat. However, praise the child if he eats on his own. Encourage the habit of self-feeding among the child. Young infants should be allowed to pay with food and make a mess, as it is a part of normal developmental process.
TEMPTING TECHNIQUES- Serve the food in an attractive manner. Serve the beverages with fancy drinking straws. Use bright colored cups and plates. The idea is to tempt and not compel. Also make the child finish his or her meal within fixed time duration. It will help in the long run.
TUMMY FULL- Serve the food in small quantities. Wondering how much to offer? Here’s a rule of thumb- or rather, of hand. A young child’s stomach is approximately the size of his fist. In simple words , a two year old should be served two tablespoons of food at a time ((1 table spoon ~~15 grams).
TAKE CARE- Don’t worry about the child’s appetite, if he is happy, energetic and growing well. Parents should decide what to eat and let the child decide, how much to eat.
THE LI’L CHEFS- Children are more likely to eat. What they have prepared. So, when appropriate, help the child prepare simple dishes like sandwiches.
IGNORE THE CLOCK- The child’s appetite might be poor during the meal time, but can increase at some other point of time. Try and be flexible, don’t always follow the clock. Ensure that he or she sits in an appropriate chair while having his meal.avoid watching television while eating. There’s no harm, if the child doesn’t eat for a short period of time. Aim for a nutritionally balanced week and not a balanced day. Child should be expected to eat as per his requirement and not according to parents wishes.