Table of contents:
- Recognizing the Causes of Difficulty Eating Children and How to Overcome It
- Tips for Dealing with Difficult Children Eating
Facing hard-to-eat children does require patience and its own strategy. Therefore, it is important for every parent to know the cause of the child's difficulty eating and how to overcome it, so that the child's nutritional needs are still met
Children will usually find it difficult to eat or become picky eaters when they are 1 year old. However, there are also children who have difficulty eating when they are 2–5 years old.
At that time, the child's growth became a little slower when compared to the previous period. This can make their appetite decrease, so the child does not want to eat or only wants to eat a little.
Recognizing the Causes of Difficulty Eating Children and How to Overcome It
When dealing with a child who has difficulty eating, parents need to first identify what the cause is. Each cause has a different approach or way of dealing with it. The following are some of the reasons why children have difficulty eating:
1. Refuse to eat
For children, eating is a skill that has just been mastered. Choosing what food he wants to put in his mouth is very important.
It's no wonder that some children can devour the food provided by their parents on the first day, but refuse the next day. When his thoughts or interests change, his appetite can change too.
Suggestion: Try to be more patient and don't force your little one to eat. Instead of worrying about calorie intake or nutrients that your little one doesn't get, you can try to calculate their nutritional needs and intake for the last 1 week.
2. Only select certain foods
For toddlers, eating solid food is a new thing or ability he can do. Therefore, it takes time for them to get used to the variety of colors, tastes and textures of food.
Nowadays, children can also learn to eat independently, including any food that goes into their mouth.
Suggestion: Introduce various types of food slowly to your little one who has difficulty eating. After being served a few times, your little one may be interested in eating it.
Mothers can also introduce new types of food served along with their favorite foods. In addition, avoid eating close to bedtime, because fatigue can also affect your little one's interest in trying new foods.
3. Just want fast food
Fast food generally contains a lot of s alt, sugar, and fat or cholesterol and is low in essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals.If consumed in excess, these unhe althy foods can make children more at risk of developing diabetes, overweight or obesity, and high blood pressure.
Some examples of fast food that children usually like are ice cream, French fries, pizza, and soft drinks.
Suggestion: Do not keep fast food at home or make it a habit to order and eat fast food. This is because children will usually imitate the behavior of their parents, including in matters of food.
As an alternative, prepare he althy food every time at home so that your little one gets used to eating he althy food.
4. Don't want to eat after eating a lot yesterday
This is very common in children aged 12 months to 3 years. There are times when the child's appetite seems big, then the opposite happens the next day. This is very natural to happen.
Suggestion: Mother doesn't need to force the little one. Set a time limit for your little one to eat the food that has been provided. Next, ask your little one to eat no more than the specified time limit.
In addition, limit the consumption of packaged fruit juices and milk. Eating too much of it makes your little one feel full easily, so he doesn't want to eat.
5. Eat only one type of food
It's not strange if suddenly a child has difficulty eating for days or only wants to eat one type of food. One of the reasons is that children are not interested in new foods that they are not familiar with.
Suggestion: Mothers should stay calm and still offer other food options, but don't force or scold your little one, if he doesn't want to eat it.
For older children, you can set a strategy by taking them to the supermarket. Ask your little one to choose two types of fruits and vegetables and one type of snack. Arriving at home, invite your little one to prepare food before consuming it.
6. Don't want to eat your favorite food suddenly
Mom may be confused when your little one suddenly refuses the type of food he usually eats, or no longer wants to drink milk that is usually consumed every day.
Suggestion: Don't panic, this may only be temporary. If your little one doesn't want to eat today, that doesn't mean he won't like it forever. Keep offering the food your child refuses the next day.
If your little one refuses to drink milk, choose other dairy-containing foods, such as yogurt or cheese. If your little one refuses vegetables, balance their nutritional intake with fruits.
Tips for Dealing with Difficult Children Eating
For children, eating is part of the learning and exploration process. To increase appetite for children who have difficulty eating, there are several things you can do, including:
- Hold regular family meals and let your little one see the people around them eating a variety of he althy foods.
- Make a regular meal schedule, i.e. 3 main meals and 2 snacks every day, and limit the time to about 30 minutes for each meal.
- Let your little one eat on their own and give them food that is easy to hold and put in their mouth.
- Give it in small portions first and praise your little one when he finishes it.
- Use tableware with attractive pictures and colors or what he likes.
- Invite other children to eat together.
- Keep away the television, games, pets and other things that can distract him while eating.
- Involve your little one when processing food, from buying, cleaning, cooking, to serving it at the dinner table. This might make him more appetizing and curious about the food he makes.
To ensure the nutritional adequacy of the Little One, Mother can make a note containing the food and drinks she consumes for a week and make sure she gets a balanced nutritious diet.
Don't forget to weigh your body regularly to ensure that your nutritional intake is met. If his weight is balanced or according to his age, this means that his nutritional intake is still adequate.
Children with difficulty eating can be a problem that is not easy to handle. As a parent, you need to be more patient and creative to change your little one's eating habits.
Dealing with hard-to-eat children is not an easy matter. If you have tried the various efforts above but your little one is still having a hard time eating, or if he is experiencing nutritional deficiencies that make it difficult for him to gain weight, you should consult this with your doctor.