What to do when children do not want to eat


Lunchtime should be a pleasant time with the family, but if the children do not want to eat it can be quite unpleasant. If they also lose weight, measures will have to be taken.

A frequent concern among parents is when children do not want to eat. Generally, there is nothing to worry about because it tends to be a stage that is overcome. But if the pediatrician says so, you may need to help him gain weight.

While baby, the rate of growth is very fast, so it is common for babies to take good amounts of food.

But between the ages of 2 and 5, the infantile appetite appears. This, even, can extend until 6 or 7 years. When the regular meal time arrives, the child refuses food and refuses to eat at the table. Parents force children, offer prizes or punishments.

Then, the lunch hour becomes a battle.

Learning to eat

The start of complementary feeding is an awakening of flavors for the palate of the baby. From just feeding on milk, the introduction of food begins and the baby is eager to try and eat. Eat with pleasure. But as it grows, preferences begin to appear.

After the first year of life, several factors appear that make the child less interested in food. The growth rate slows down and it is satiated with complementary feeding. In addition, his interest in the world around him puts food in the background.

As they grow, they seem to prefer a few foods in small quantities. The parents begin to worry. The food becomes a frequent consult to the pediatrician or in the forums on the Internet, alarmed because “their children do not want to eat “.

Parents concerned about the child’s nutrition, we force them to take food in quantities greater than they need. Other parents will insist that children should learn to eat everything regardless of their preferences. The child refuses to eat, so his weight can be affected.

The refusal to eat

There can also be organic reasons behind the decrease in appetite. A chronic illness, a flu-like illness or an acute infection will cause the child to refuse food. It is usually a short period. And once overcome, the appetite is restored.

The problem begins when the child feels hungry and tries to satisfy it only with the foods that are pleasing to him. Of course, parents are crucial to resolve this circumstance.

If the parents’ concern leads them to create a tense atmosphere at mealtime, the child’s refusal is encouraged.  On the other hand, if when the child only wants to eat what he likes and gives in to the whim, a negative precedent is established.

The child will refuse to eat regular food because he knows that when he feels hungry there is someone who will give him whatever he wants. If this conflict is prolonged, the healthy nutrition of the child can be affected. In the face of which a medical indication may arise that you have to help him gain weight.

How to help you gain weight

Children learn to eat the amounts they need to be satisfied. If they are healthy, happy children who grow at the right pace, we should not worry so much about the percentile they occupy in the growth charts.

Parents should only take care to create a pleasant atmosphere when eating and ensure a healthy diet. However, if you lose a lot of weight there may be a medical indication that we should help you gain weight.

Here are some basic recommendations to strengthen your nutrition and get children to eat:

  • Introduce new foods in a progressive and attractive way. If you repeatedly refuse to eat a food, try to offer another that has similar nutrients.
  • Da example. No matter how much a child rejects food diversity, if they see how their parents eat, sooner or later, they will be encouraged to try what they offer. Hence the importance of the child eating at the table with the whole family and without personalized menus.
  • Take advantage of your preferences to introduce new foods. Creativity has no limits when it comes to cooking and offering options for children to learn to eat. The presentation of the food counts, so be creative.
  • If the child consistently refuses to try new foods, be patient and perseverant. Avoid getting angry and just keep insisting. If the child’s refusal is not followed by negative consequences such as nausea or vomiting, little by little he will accept the new foods.
  • After an infection it is normal for the child to lose weight, but it will tend to rise quickly. Take advantage of the restored appetite to help you gain weight.

Final reflection on children who do not want to eat

Remember that it is not just about gaining weight. Excessive consumption of sugary foods, processed chemically and high in Trans fats are not the healthy formula to gain weight. Childhood obesity is a serious problem that is best avoided.

Mealtime must be a pleasant time for the whole family. This positive relationship is what influences having a better appetite. That works for everyone, regardless of how old we are.

When the child associates eating with something nice, they will surely overcome the problems of in appetence. If the child still does not eat well, the pediatrician can assess the use of vitamins or food supplements to help him gain weight.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here