Raise a Healthy Child Who is a Joy to Feed

Focus on how you feed and how your child feels and behaves at mealtime, not on what your child eats. Follow the division of responsibility in feeding. When you maintain the quality of your feeding relationship rather than worrying about what or how much your child eats, your child will eat and grow well and, sooner or later, he will learn to eat almost everything you eat. In the meantime, understand and expect normal child eating behavior. Your child is likely to be a picky eater, to eat only one or two foods from any meal, to eat a food one time and ignore it another, to eat a lot one time and not much another, and to not eat vegetables.

Your child is a competent eater when . . .

  • He feels good about eating. He enjoys food and joins in happily with family meals and snacks.
  • He enjoys meals and behaves nicely at mealtime. He feels good about being included in family meals and does his part to make mealtime pleasant. He does not make a fuss.
  • He picks and chooses from food you make available. He is okay with being offered food he has never seen before. He says “yes, please,” and “no, thank you.” He ignores food he does not want and also “sneaks up” on new food and learns to like it. Eventually he will learn to eat almost everything you do.
  • He determines for himself how much to eat. Only he knows how much that is.Trusting him to eat as much he needs lets him grow consistently and develop the body that nature intended for him.

For more about what to do—and not do—with feeding, see Ellyn Satter’s Feeding with Love and Good Sense II DVD.  Also see www.EllynSatterInstitute.org/store to purchase books and to review comprehensive educational materials that teach stage-related feeding and solve feeding problems.

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©2016 by Ellyn Satter published at www.EllynSatterInstitute.org. You may reproduce this article if you don't charge for it or change it in any way and if you do include the for more about and copyright statements.