Tips To Help Children Learn How To Eat

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    • Serve meals at regular times so children know when to expect food.
    • Make mealtimes fun.

  • Children often follow the example of adults so carers should sit and eat with the children where possible.
  • Introduce new foods in small portions and on several occasions.
  • Watch for high intakes of snacks or drinks especially milk, juice or squash and reduce if interfering with appetite.
  • Remember that children have only little tummies and fill up easily. Keep portions small and offermore as needed.
  • Watch for an “off” day becoming an “off” week. Children’s appetites are not constant. If you are concerned it may be important to write down what a child eats during the week and report back to parents/guardians.
  • Make food look interesting – colours, taste and textures are very important.
  • Be prepared to offer the food in another form, for example, pasta with the sauce beside it rather than on top of it.
  • Allow the child to eat with other “good” eaters whenever possible.
  • Praise them when food is eaten.
  • The child should feed him/herself, if possible. Also offer finger foods.
  • Take time over meals and talk to children about different foods. Give them time to eat without being rushed.
  • When it is obvious that no more food is going to be eaten, remove the food.

Author: Bibian Okoye

A Retired Chief Nursing Officer, PGDip IHM

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