When your child turns 3, they start to establish their individuality. This is when they refuse to eat their food, for example, or to sit at the dinner table. They may even limit what they’ll eat to a single food. But don’t be disturbed; these are natural problems and each has many solutions.
They’re Refusing to Eat
This may seem to be a big problem, but it won’t stay that way if you take the following steps:
- Serve them main meals and snacks at specific times, and—as much as possible—don’t break this rule.
- Make “no special meals” your motto because extra attention will make them think that refusing to eat is okay.
- Don’t let them drink too much natural juice; it suppresses hunger. Half a cup a day is enough.
- Don’t force them to eat everything on their plate.
- Eat your healthy and varied food with enthusiasm, and they will doubtless imitate you.
- Introduce them gradually to new flavors and types of food, but don’t force them to eat anything.
- Don’t make the mistake of feeding them while they’re watching television; it prevents them from focusing on their food.
- Praise them if they make progress in eating their food.
- Make sure they sleep well because tiredness reduces the appetite.
They’re Refusing to Sit at the Dinner Table
It’s not strange for this to happen, especially if your child is very young. They may not be able to sit still for a long period of time, and maybe it is boring for them. Here’s the solution.
- Praise them if they sit in one of the chairs at the dinner table.
- Don’t ask them to sit at the table unless the food is ready. This keeps them waiting and will tire them.
- Provide a comfortable atmosphere for them. Turn off the television and don’t talk about things that cause tension.
- Invite them to take part in the conversation. Ask them questions, and they won’t want to leave the table.
They Want to Eat Certain Food
This is natural; they like the tastes they know. Help them discover new kinds.
- Encourage them to help choose the meals, and give your suggestions about additions.
- Vary the types of food in one meal. It’s also no problem if you prepare their favorite dish once a week.
- Make them choose between various types: apple or banana, broccoli or beans, etc.