Do you have a child who is not a big eater? Are meal times in your house a struggle? My son was never a big eater, and despite my desperate efforts I could never get him to eat more. Here’s what I learned, including what to do when your child is not a big eater.
“Go ahead finish it” I hissed He was gulping down mouthful of egg and bread while constantly eyeing me. He knew I would sulk the whole day, and would make him try at least ten more food items if he was not able to finish it off. Those who say that moms know their kids like the back of their hand, are unaware of the fact that kids know their moms even better.
His little eyes were full of tears, but he wanted to make me happy. However, his little body refused to play along, and he ended up spewing up what he had managed to push in.
What I Learned
After struggling for six years, I experienced my “nirvana”.
Maybe it was always more about me and never about him. The way I saw it was that if he weighs less than the normal boys of his age, then there must be a fault in my parenting.
But……He is active, and he can outrun all his friends. He is charming and confident. He is popular, makes new friends and sustains friendship.
He is a great kid, yet whenever I see him in his group of friends, I start measuring his height and assessing his weight against others. Due to my obsessive focus on how much he was eating each meal, I was never able to appreciate his uniqueness.
I ruined many precious moments in measuring him against one social ideal of being “healthy and normal”. He tried his best to please me but the poor child could not change his physiology for me.
I have gained my Gayan the hard way, but here’s my advice to all moms suffering with a child who just doesn’t eat as much as others:
Tips for Mom if your Child is Not a Big Eater
1.Every Child is Unique.
Every child is different, so let your child bask in the glory of his uniqueness. Don’t judge him simply because he does not look like others or eat like them. Also learn to respect your child’s individuality, and cherish it.
2. Stop Comparing
Stop drawing comparisons with other kids in your mind, and never, ever compare in front of the child.
3. Don’t Supplement
Don’t start him on supplements and artificial appetite enhancers. It will only bring temporary relief and could cause severe dependence.
4. Stop Changing Doctors
If you have had your child medically assessed, and there are no underlying health reasons or issues, then stop thinking the issue is medically related and let the poor child be. Some children just do not eat as much as others.
5. Understand Your Child’s Eating Habits
Try to understand your child’s unique eating habits and patterns. For instance, my child liked light snacks, with two hour interval and he loves fruits. He was never into proper meals 3 times a day.
6. Ensure Your Child Gets Proper Nutrients
It’s important that you try give your kids a balanced diet. Observe how they eat, and once you understand your child’s eating patterns, find natural, healthy and interesting ways of getting nutrients into them. If they prefer to snack, make sure they are eating healthy snacks.
Relax, enjoy your child and their precious moments of childhood. And know that, yes, sometimes it’s the child who teaches the most important lesson to the mother!