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  1. #1

    Is it alright to punish my kids when they commit mistakes?

    My kids do not eat much. Every morning, I am having trouble talking to them only to finish their breakfast. Sometimes, I do not give them allowances and at times, I tend to let them finish their food even if they say they're already full. How will I tell them how important it is to eat more?

  2. #2

    I think what is important here is to not create an emotional association with food. Emotional associations with food (e.g. feeling negative or guilty when you eat certain foods or if you eat too much/too little food) have been found to be connected with eating disorders in later life.

    It is far better to empower your children to make good, healthy choices about food. Of course, this is easier said than done - especially where young children are concerned!

    Bear in mind that it is normal for children (particularly toddlers) to go through a fussy/ faddy eating phase. This is a sign of their growing independence as well as their taste buds changing. I feel that the best way to deal with these phases is just to carry on as normal - offer well-balanced healthy meals and snacks throughout the day (with plenty of variety) and don't punish your children for not eating as much or only choosing to eat certain foods.

    How old are your children?

    For younger, active children who are going through a fussy phase a 'grazing plate' is an excellent way to get them to eat more on their terms. You leave a large plate on a low down table (i.e. a table that they can come and go to without help from you) full of a variety of interesting snack food which ideally releases energy slowly. For example, it could contain dried fruit, malt loaf, peanut butter on wholemeal bread, steamed chicken, avocado chunks etc. The idea is that a busy child will then come to the plate over a space of several hours (they have too much to do to sit still for long!) and eat a good variety of food.

    Smoothies are another healthy way for your children to get lots of nutrients. There are so many different flavour combinations to try - there's bound to be one they enjoy!

    Another way to get your children to enjoy meal-times more is to involve them in planning and preparing the meal - so that they take ownership of the meal and find it more interesting. You can create fun meals together like making pizza faces out of pizzas topped with roast vegetables.

    Make meal-times a family time; a time when you share what is going on in each others' day; a time when you can joke and laugh together; a time to make memories.

    I think you are right to want your children to eat healthily (especially at breakfast time - the most important meal of the day) but it is best to instill this through positive, gentle parenting.

    Does anyone else have any ideas to help char_june with this?

    Best wishes,


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