#Moms At Work

Is Your Kid Not Eating Enough? Here Are Some Reasons And Solutions To Know

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Kid not eating enough: As a parent, you must be anxious when your kid refused to eat. Kids not wanting to eat raises several questions in parents’ minds which are enough to trigger their stress and worry. Is the child not feeling well? If children don’t eat enough how will they get the essential nutrients? Just how should we calm them down and make them finish their food? But first, sit back and relax. It is quite common for kids to not eat enough food. And often the reason is not as serious as a physical ailment. Rather than stressing over it, try to talk to your kids and understand the reason why they are not eating enough. To help you out, we have listed out some reasons and solutions:

Why is my kid not eating enough?

1. Do you pressure your kids to finish the meal?

It is common for parents to push their kids to finish their meal. But at times, because of this pressure and anticipation, kids might lose interest in meal and mealtime. Rather than the time to relish favourite food with family, mealtime becomes a stressful moment for kids when parents suddenly control them, hover over their plate, force-feed them, and keep an eye on them till they finish the last bite. So this might be a reason behind your kid not eating enough.

Solution: Go easy! Do not force-feed your kids. Let them eat by themselves, slowly and in smaller portions. Don’t make them anxious and afraid of you when they eat their meals. Add varieties of food to their plate that they like so that the ‘boring’ dal becomes bearable. Engage in casual conversation with them and make them realise that its just food and not a school exam.

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2. Do you let them choose the food they eat?

Of course, parents know the best about the food and nutrition that the child needs. But often that might make children feel left out in choosing what is being served on their plates. Rather than a healthy delicious meal, it becomes something that is being enforced on them. Do we as adults like enforcements? No right! Then why would children?

Solution: Keep a day or two aside when you cook as per their wish. Or you can add one dish of your child’s choice to the regular meal, maybe a sweet dish, ice cream or drinks. And it is best to involve your kids in the preparation of the food, how it is decorated and served on the plate. They will feel more connected and interested in the meal as they have contributed to its preparation.

3. Is your child distracted while having a meal?

Children have very short spans of attention on the meal and are more interested in the surrounding world. Usually, a program on TV, a video on YouTube or other kids playing outside distracts children from their meal. They become more eager to concentrate on TV or the game and hence they lose interest in finishing their meal.

Solution: Try to avoid TV, videos or other distractions during mealtime. Make sure that the mealtime is a family bonding time when everyone enjoys their meal and each others’ company. A lighter mode at the table will also reduce the pressure of finishing a meal that your child might not be so fond of. 

4. Are you serving large portions of food to your kids?

The appetite of every child is not the same. So maybe your child is eating enough and the food left on the plate is more than the appetite.

Solution: Try serving smaller portions of food to your kids. Once they finish it, encourage them to ask more. Moreover, try to reduce the quantity of snacks so that kids are not full during mealtime. Remember, toddlers are not growing as fast as babies. So they need less food. Furthermore, their stomach and appetite are small which get filled very quickly, especially when parents make sure that the food kids eat should be rich in nutrients.

If your child is not eating the regular diet, the favourite food or not eating at all, it could be a warning sign of an internal illness.

So watch out for the signs of these physical illnesses in your kids:

  1. Stomach bug: A child might refuse to eat the regular diet because of some infection in the stomach. There are other obvious symptoms of this ailment which will help you identify it and treat it.
  2. Constipation: Your child won’t feel like eating if they are constipated. Talk to your child about the bowel movement and make them eat fibres in the form of fruits to cure their constipation.
  3. Eosinophilic esophagitis: Children might not want to eat because they find it difficult to swallow due to an ailment in their throat. This could be a sign of Eosinophilic esophagitis, a condition in which certain immune system cells accumulate in children’s oesophagus because of which their throat might swell up. Consult a doctor once you identify it.

While there could be other reasons too, the basic technique to solve this issue is- first parents should calm down and then try communicating with children and understanding their problem. Remember they are just growing up and learning to cope up with the real world. Don’t be harsh on them. Give time.