If the child has a poor appetite

Mom 2023
If the child has a poor appetite
If the child has a poor appetite

Problem with appetite is perhaps the most common problem faced by parents. What to do if the child is picky about food and constantly refuses to eat? The situation is commented on by child psychotherapist, family consultant Madelena Sanchuk.

If the child has a poor appetite

Yes, I won't

“My son is 7 years old. He goes in for sports, it would seem that the energy consumption is large, but he eats very poorly. There are a few dishes that he loves, but you can’t force everything else.It worries me that he doesn't even want to try anything new. For example, he is used to cutlets prepared by his grandmother, while others do not even want to try, and if he deceives and says that he will eat grandmother's cutlets and not notice, in all other cases he refuses, up to vomiting. I don’t know what to do, because the child must receive all the necessary nutrients, and he doesn’t eat vegetables even after threats.” Tatiana, Chekhov.

In order to effectively deal with the complexities of baby food, two facts must be remembered: the vast majority of babies under one year of age peacefully satiate without creating difficulties for parents, almost all children from poor families, where food is worth its weight in gold, are not picky and do not refuse food. In both of these cases, refusal to eat is an alarming signal and requires urgent intervention by a pediatrician. In modern families with average and solid incomes, children understand an important truth from about a year old: their parents are eager to cram optimally balanced food into their babies in maximum quantities.As soon as the child sees that for mom and grandmother his lunch is the culmination of the day, that all the elders will discuss for hours when, how much and how he ate, he is faced with the temptation to control the elders, manipulate them, accepting or rejecting this or that dish. If we recall another important feature of children - their conservatism - then the picture becomes much more complete. Starting from 5-6 months, the baby switches to a more varied diet: cereals, pureed vegetables, juices … Already at this stage, some children discover their addictions - they refuse unusual vegetables, spit out porridge … Experienced mothers offer babies new food at the very beginning of feeding, when the children are very hungry, they serve new dishes in very small portions. At this stage, the mission of parents is only to acquaint the child with new taste sensations, with a new texture and consistency of various products.

As for the seven-year-old hero of the letter, unfortunately I know very little about him. Here are the questions I would ask his anxious mother: Does he eat well at a party? On picnics? At school? In the cafe? How does he eat desserts? Ice cream? If you answered yes to at least one question, then we are not dealing with a poor appetite, but with a smart boy who leads his elders with food.Do you give him dessert instead of food? Does he drink juices and sugary drinks before meals or between meals? Does he snack in front of the TV or on the run? If you answered yes to at least one question, then you need to reconsider your feeding practice. Is the child in a good mood during the day? Is there enough energy to run, jump, play, exercise? Does it happen that after one or two meager meals, the child suddenly pounces on food and absorbs almost a double serving? Is his weight normal according to his pediatrician? Does he gain weight as he gets older? If the answer to all these questions is yes, then you should not worry about your child's appetite - it is normal! If at least one question you answered in the negative, you need to show the child to the pediatrician. The amount of food a child needs varies from individual to individual. If your child eats less than the neighbor's, it does not mean that he is sick or that he has a bad appetite. In order to improve your child's appetite, you should learn simple habits: keep sweet fizzy drinks, sweets and cakes out of your child's reach; take into account the preferences of the child when compiling the menu.It is good practice to have your child choose between, say, meatballs with cauliflower and meatballs with beans. Your seven-year-old son should be fed at strictly allotted hours so that his digestive apparatus is as prepared as possible for eating. Offer him more modest portions of grandmother's cutlets and mouth-watering islands of vegetables. Did not eat vegetables - and it is not necessary. There are no more kittens. Hungry - you can eat vegetables. Not hungry - lunch is over. If all attempts to shove vegetables into the boy failed, the grandmother should mix minced meat with chopped vegetables: zucchini, cauliflower, carrots. If a boy starts protesting because the taste of grandma's cutlets has changed, be adamant: these are the cutlets grandmother has cooked today. No others. Hungry - eat. Sat - go play. The boy who eats his grandmother's food and refuses his mother's cooking is unconsciously performing an ancient maneuver: divide and conquer. Mom cannot help but feel bitter feelings that her son rejects her food (and therefore, on a symbolic level, the mother herself).Grandma, no matter how wonderful she may be, cannot completely get rid of the feeling of triumph (the grandson prefers her food - and therefore the grandmother herself - to everyone in the world, even mom!!!). The son of the author of the letter is a smart and observant boy: he knows that his urge to vomit scares women the most. So the elders need to hide their anxiety. If the boy begins to choke, adults should calmly say: “It looks like you are full. You can get up from the table and play." Begging children to eat, threatening punishment, scolding, punishing - is ineffective. All these reactions to the child's refusal to eat tell the child that his tricks have worked, and all adults are focused exclusively on his nutrition. It is much more important to be able to hide your negative feelings and evenly, calmly allow the child to eat exactly as much as he wished. A mother can instill a more positive attitude towards food in a child if she involves him in the process of cooking and table setting, while the child should only do what he wants, which gives him joy, say, peel potatoes, or wash greens, or stir the dough … It will be a special joy for a child to make collages of vegetables on a plate: a hill of peas, a path of carrot slices, a face drawn with mayonnaise or ketchup with olive eyes, a cucumber nose, a tomato mouth … Make sure that you say nice words to each other while eating, thank everyone who prepared and served dinner, praise the cooking, offer sauce, s alt, pepper to each other with a smile.In a word, food again becomes an important part of the family ritual, and not a struggle of characters: will it be possible to cram vegetables into a seven-year-old boy or not? Will mother's threats work or not? Will mom resist the spanking or not? Will the dinner end in tears, or will it manage this time? As soon as possible, teach children to eat on their own - first with your hands, by the year “in two spoons” - one for the mother, and the second for the baby. Of course, for the first few months, the baby will only learn to bring his spoon to his mouth - do not be surprised if the spoon is empty. In order to bring a full spoon to the mouth, the child will make hundreds of attempts! Encourage your child to feed on their own. Praise every attempt (even if you think it fails). Carefully observe the baby: the first few minutes he eats with concentration, greedily, with pleasure. Then little by little he starts playing with food. This is also an important stage in the knowledge of the world, including culinary. The next stage - the child, having played up, begins to scatter food on the table, throwing it on the floor.No matter how much your child ate at that moment, you should say with satisfaction: “Since Kolya began to throw food on the floor, then Kolya is full. Come on, I'll take off your apron, you can go play." Resist the temptation to shove at least a spoonful of porridge into Kolya, at least a piece of meat between feedings. Half an apple, half a banana and fresh water - that's all that a child should have until the next feeding. If the baby understands that he needs food to fill him up, that you will not worry if he does not finish, he will not be tempted to turn meals into sessions of training mom and grandmother.

Simple tips

If the child is not eating well

1 Set a specific time for eating.

2 Offer your child small portions. If the food is not enough, offer him a supplement.

3 Give your child maximum independence at the table and teach etiquette - children who wield forks, table knives and beautiful glasses, as a rule, eat with more pleasure than those who are stuffed from a spoon under the howling of the TV and threats from their parents.

4 When offering your child new foods, convince him that he does not have to eat it, but should only try it. If he likes it, he can eat, and if he doesn't like it, he can set aside a new dish.

5 Consider your child's preferences and let him avoid eating foods that disgust him.

6 Dessert is only served after a full meal that includes balanced meals.

7 Snacks between meals should also be balanced: yogurt, fruit, a slice of cheese.

8 Remove foods from your child's sight that are harmful to him or that can kill his appetite.

9 Let your child get up from the table as soon as he tells you he doesn't want to eat anymore.

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