Babies eat in relation to their size, much more than adults. For this reason, in the process of becoming adults, sooner or later, they start to eat less.
The reason for this change around the first year of life is the slowing of growth. Some children stop eating at nine months and others wait until a year and a half to two years. During the first year, babies get fat and grow faster than at any other time in their extrauterine life.
During the second year, however, growth is much slower: about 9 cm tall and a couple of kilos. According to the calculations of the experts, children of one and a half years eat a little more than those of nine months and parents, who are not informed of this fact, think that if with one year their baby eats so much, with two they will eat twice as much . The result is an inevitable and violent conflict between the parents and the child.
Many children start to eat more around the age of five or seven, when their body size increases. However, the amount of food that each person needs varies widely, and some children eat much more or much less than their peers of the same age and size.
On the other hand, the expectations of parents can also be very different and while some mothers would be satisfied with their child finishing the plate of spaghetti, others hope that after the spaghetti they will also eat a steak with potatoes, an apple and a yogurt. For this reason, it is important to respect the natural wisdom of children versus your physiological needs.
Hunger, which is the normal demand for food, it is different from the appetite that is the normal desire to satisfy the taste. The eating behavior of children needs a guide since they are small and no one better than the mother or father to assess this fact of great importance in the physical and emotional growth of their child.
Parents can do a lot to educate their children correctly in their eating habits, in the way they eat, in their way of demanding food and in their perception of food.
1. Create a pleasant atmosphere. Mealtime should be pleasant and necessary for the child. Avoid that the food is conditional on punishment, if the dish does not finish.
2. Change your perception of the amount of food. Serve your child the amount of food he needs based on his age on the largest plate. In this way, you will notice that there is a small amount of food on your plate.
3. Promote their autonomy. It can motivate him to set the table, let him help himself and decide and have autonomy about his food tastes.
4. Teach him to eat as a family. Whenever you can, allow him to eat as a family so that he appropriates the eating habits of adults, assimilating the behavior and models of the family.
5. Promotes a balanced diet. Allowing him to choose his menu can influence the success or failure of his eating. Success means that the child must try a variety of healthy foods to accustom his palate to different flavors.
6. Avoid indulgence and delicacies. Mealtime has a clear and necessary place, time, and end.
7. Offer only what he needs. Don't expect the child to eat the same amount of food as you. Let him decide and eat the amount of food he needs to satisfy his hunger and develop his tastes in a healthy way.
Each child is different and unique in their way of being and also of eating. According to a study conducted by the University of California, more than 80% of parents and caregivers force children to eat. Therefore, it gives us reasons to not forcing children to eat everything:
1. Forcing a child to finish the food that is put on his plate is forcing him to eat more than he needs. It is advisable to listen to them, and respect their tastes and decisions.
2. Forcing the child to eat everything is to make mealtime a daily torture. Every time the child comes to the table with less desire and the parents with less patience.
3. By forcing the child to eat, he gives him to understand that it is normal for someone else to make decisions about his body and his needs.
4. The child's autonomy is also being limited, repressing him.
5. The obligation to eat favors childhood overweight and obesity.
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