Parental ad­vice for kids who are picky eaters

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY -

DOES your child barely eat at din­ner time? Do they of­ten come home from school with their lunch barely touched?

Some chil­dren are in­con­sis­tent, eat­ing all their meals one day and then not much the next day.

For oth­ers it’s a more com­mon oc­cur­rence.

You might be con­cerned that as a re­sult of their lack of ap­petite your child seems un­der­weight, and that there could be long-term health is­sues.

So let’s look at what you can do about it as a par­ent.

Ap­petites do change from day to day.

It can be frus­trat­ing when what your child wants to eat and how much they want to eat changes day-to-day.

One day they may eat a plate of cel­ery and car­rots, but a cou­ple days later they hate it or only take a cou­ple of bites, then a week later they’re back to eat­ing a full plate.

This is ab­so­lutely nor­mal, espe­cially for younger chil­dren whose ap­petites change day-to-day.

Some­times other fac­tors to do with their emo­tions and other is­sues in their life will be caus­ing the is­sue.

If your child tends to eat big at cer­tain meals, but doesn’t eat well at oth­ers, try not to worry too much be­cause it should bal­ance out.

The most im­por­tant thing you can do is en­sure what they do eat is healthy. Con­sis­tency is im­por­tant. Your child has a ‘tummy clock’ that will fa­mil­iarise it­self with eat­ing time.

So if your fam­ily ate at 6pm one day, your child’s tummy will kick in the next day at a sim­i­lar time.

If you change meal times reg­u­larly, then you may find your child re­fuses to eat, but does get hun­gry later on. This can be quite dis­rup­tive to bed­time!

If there are se­ri­ous con­cerns about your child be­ing un­der­weight or you’re wor­ried that there might be other un­der­ly­ing health or de­vel­op­ment is­sues in­volved, please con­tact a mem­ber of the WBHHS child health team.

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