How do I get my children to eat??

  • No one ever said dinnertime would be easy, but lately it has become really bad. My 4 year old constantly decides that she doesn't like what we are having for dinner. She picks at her food and whines throughout dinner until I tell her to put it in the sink. We have a strict “no dessert” policy for children who don't finish their dinner, yet every night she whines and cries that she is hungry. I don't want to turn into a short order cook, but sometimes I feel bad for her and decide to make her a healthy alternative. Am I being sensible or is she just really good at manipulating the situation? Should I make her an alternative healthy snack or just let her go hungry?

  • I have a similar situation with my 3 year old daughter. She is a super picky eater and WILL NOT eat most dinners that I make for the family. I'm hoping that this is just a faze and she will grow out of it but I did fall into the trap of making her a seperate meal just so she eats. Confused I will tell you that once you begin doing that, they sort of expect it and may refuse some meals that they used to eat just to get something else.

  • I know a woman who has a 15yr old girl. This woman makes a separate meal for her teenager every night. I sure this started as a toddler. My son is 5. I will set his plate aside if he says he says he's not hungry during dinner. He still has to sit at the table with us while we eat dinner. No going off to play. Then 1/2 hr or hour later when he complains of being hungry his dinner can easily be heated again in the microwave. It's not going to kill them to go without for a while. If they are really hungry they will eat. With me it's been that way since he started with solids. I make everything from curry to pasta to tacos to grilling burgers. If you let them get the best of you they will. Good luck.

  • It sounds like she is good at manipulating you. She cries you make her something else, you sat no she cries louder you make her something else. See a pattern? I had that problem when my kids when they were very small. When they told me they didn't want what I cooked, I told them they didn't have to eat but I was not making anything else. They eventually ate it and now we have no problems, they eat evertything I cook or at least try it but now they are old enough to make their own sandwiches. I taught them to make sandwiches when they were 5. So if they try and don't like what they've been givien they can make a sandwich but I will not do it for them.

  • Thanks everyone! I started to just put my foot down and tell her that "no...dinner was an hour ago. You should have eaten when it was dinnertime, now the kitchen is closed." She still gets mad at times, but it is getting easier. I guess it is always a battle!!!!
  • It is a battle.  We have 4 kids with different tastes and I am not a restaurant.  We serve dinner and your option is eat it or you'll be hungry enough to eat a good breakfast the next day.  I don't even let them do sandwiches as they might do that to avoid their vegetables and fruits they don't like.  When they are over 8 then I do the rule eat your veggies or you will get that vegetable only the next meal until you learn to eat them.  It may seem harsh but I know grown adults who only eat 1 or 2 vegetables which doesn't give them enough vitamin variety.   And I want them to grow up healthy eaters as weight problems and the health problems that go with it are becoming such an epidemic.