“Help, My Kid Won’t Eat!”

“Help, My Kid Won’t Eat!”

Think you need to get your kid on a special child nutrition program? They refuse to sit down and eat with the rest of your family. They eat only one thing for days, then switch to something completely different for another several days. Or maybe if the food doesn’t look pretty on the plate, they won’t touch it.

Any one of these situations is perfectly normal. I gave up on trying to make our son sit down with us for a complete meal long ago. I figured it was just because he was so active, but it turns out that the same styles by which a child learns dictates how he eats.

In essence, you can create a child nutrition program for that challenging eater simply by understanding his dominant sense or sense.

The tactile eater

Just as a tactile child learns best by doing and touching, he eats best when he is

  • allowed to go from table to play and back again during meals, and
  • given simple foods after having enough physical activity to make him feel hungry enough to make eating worth his time.

Forcing such a child to sit down and eat a complicated meal will only lead to stress and unhappiness on all sides.

The auditory eater

“Help, My Kid Won’t Eat!”

This child focuses on books, songs and videos to the extent that she eventually is able to recite, for example, an entire chapter of Winnie-The-Pooh by memory. She also tends to want to hear the same story, or watch the same DVD, over and over again.

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Just so, she will favor one particular food at a time. Don’t be dismayed if all she wants is cheese one week, and apples the next. She will still get what she needs nutritionally, as long as you don’t let her focus on junk foods!

The visual eater

This is the child who notices a “pretty” garden and an “ugly” monster in toddlerhood. She is usually an early reader and learns best by visual cues. In turn, she tends to refuse to eat a meal that is not arranged in a pretty way on her plate. Making smiley faces or colorful patterns on her plate will result in much greater cooperation in eating.

So if you have picky eaters in your household, take heart! You don’t need a fancy child nutrition program to confuse and frustrate your efforts at good parenting. Simply recognize their dominant sense – or sense – and go from there.