Don’t Force Children to Eat!
July 9, 2015|Posted in: Happy, Healthy, Smart Kids!
As a childcare provider for nearly a quarter of a century I’ve seen many parents who believe it’s a good idea to force their children to eat when they don’t want to. One little boy’s mom gave him a big cup of milk every morning and made him drink it. He didn’t like milk at all and I know that for a fact because I cleaned it up more than once when, after forcing it down, he spewed it back up all over the carpet! Another child who was just a year and a half old would cry if I simply put her in the high chair.
Forcing children to eat when they’re not hungry or forcing them to eat foods they don’t like can cause them to develop negative feelings toward food and eating. They can develop poor eating habits that cause them to not get the proper nutrition they need.
I know most parents who force their children to eat are doing it because they think it’s good for them. They want to make sure they get the proper nutrition to be strong and healthy. Their body’s are small though and they don’t need the same amount of calories that adults do. Your doctor can tell you how many calories your child needs and give you information about serving sizes.
If you provide your child with healthy choices they will usually eat what their bodies need. It’s not a bad thing to require children to taste a new food, but if they don’t like it don’t force them to eat it. If you provide several choices of healthy foods at each meal your child will be able to find something they like to eat without you having to make separate meals for each member of the family. It’s also alright to withhold treats and sweets if your child hasn’t eaten any of the healthy, nutritious foods you offered them. But remember to be reasonable in the amount you require them to eat (probably just a few bites) before allowing them to have a treat.
The purpose of eating is to nourish our bodies, but food should taste good to us and eating should be enjoyable. Eat together as a family, allow children to make their own healthy choices, and have pleasant conversations. Allow children to help prepare and choose the food you serve and don’t force them to eat foods they don’t like or to eat when they’re not hungry. If you follow these guidelines your children will develop healthy eating habits while getting the nutrition they need to be strong and healthy!