My child eats very little, what can I do?

Some children are not willing to eat, sometimes because they are sick with a poor appetite. However, if they grow normally and play around actively and happily, then the reason for not willing to eat is most likely being full or refusal to new foods.

Young kids do not eat much at a time. The amount of food intake can change a lot in different days. Once they are full, they refuse to eat more. This is the natural body mechanism to adjust intake of food.

My child is not willing to eat frequently, what can I do?

If your child eats small amount of food or is not ready to eat, try to take a look at the meal time schedule and see if it is appropriate. Is he too tired, or not yet fully awake after sleep, or still playing when he is offered to eat?

If you want children with small appetite to eat well, parents need to consider the importance of “quality”. Choose nutritious food, such that every mouthful he eats provide high levels of different nutrients. Therefore, avoid giving him snacks containing high levels of fat, sugar or drinks with added sugar.

In order to reduce food refusal, schedule three meals of breakfast, lunch and dinner and 2 to 3 snacks a day. Remember each meal and snack time need to be separated by 2 to 3 hours. Otherwise frequent eating will affect children’s appetite.

You should provide a variety of food. Try to cook in different methods to make it delicious and look attractive. Large amount of food given at a time is stressful for most kids. Give smaller amount of food instead in the beginning. Add more only when he wants. In this way, he will enjoy the meal more.

Let your child has meals with other family members and feed himself. Doing these can increase his interest in eating meals. If parents look too anxious, children can feel the stress and eat less. That is why it is better to have relaxed atmosphere during mealtimes. During mealtime, talk positively about the foods, such as the color, the taste of the foods. Praise him with words when appropriate.

Children can finish a meal in around 20 minutes in general. You can set around 30 minutes for a meal to finish. After the 30 minutes, take away the feeding tools without making any criticism.

You can also arrange him to eat meals together with some kids with good mealtime habits. If he is old enough, buy food together with him, or let him help in preparatory work like washing veggies and setting the table. All these help boost his interest in eating.