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How do I get my four year old son to eat dinner?

  1. Booknook profile image61
    Booknookposted 3 years ago via iphone

    As I'm getting ready to make dinner I ask my son if he's hungry. I know he is because he just asked me for some cereal. He says "No I'm not hungry. I want cereal, cereal is good!" I've been having this problem with him for the past few weeks. I'll make dinner and give it to him and he'll eat his green beans or corn (he likes vegetables a lot!) but he won't even touch the fish sticks or chicken alfredo or whatever else I've made. Mostly he plays with it but I decided to try something different to get him to eat. I set up a reward system. It's been almost a week since I started rewarding him to eat and it's working. I tell him he can watch a movie after he eats but he has to eat all of his food and he does. Or eat all of this spaghetti and we can read a story after you're done. Tonight I made him macaroni and cheese with fish sticks and green beans and he ate it all. I gave him small portions and told him he could play a game afterwards if he eats all of his food and puts his dishes in the sink. His plate was empty and is now in the sink. Mission accomplished. He still asks for sweets instead of real food but most kids do, the difference now is he's getting a full tummy and we aren't wasting food and money.

    1. profile image0
      Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I have always heard from wise, older women, not to battle over food with little ones. They will always eat when they are hungry and you can always introduce new foods as their palates mature. Just ask them to try one bite of something.

      1. wilderness profile image96
        wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

        I did that once.  Told my (7 year old?) grand daughter she only had to take one more bit of something (beets?) to leave the table, but that she would be hungry later because she refused to eat supper.

        That girl sat at the table for over 45 minutes with a bite of beet in her mouth, refusing to swallow, before she finally figured out she could sit there all night for all I cared!

        1. profile image0
          Beth37posted 3 years ago in reply to this

          lol. I stressed a lot less with my 2nd two than I did with my 1st two.
          I didn't battle at all. No sitting at the table till they finished things, I just always asked them, stress free if they'd try one bite of something I thought they might like and they usually did. I didn't push stuff on them that I knew they weren't ready for. No mushrooms or raw shrimp etc. and now they eat just about anything. I think the main thing is not to stress or make an issue out of food.

          1. wilderness profile image96
            wildernessposted 3 years ago in reply to this

            No trouble with my kids; they grew up having to eat at least one bite of everything and soon learned to like everything Mom and Dad did.  Which is very nearly everything in the grocery store.

            The grandkids were a different story; they came to us at an older age, around 6, and from a family that the mother was extremely picky as well.  There were literally only a half dozen foods they would eat, and Mom obviously found nothing at all wrong with that attitude.  As they all lived with us for a few months at first it was a near nightmare; we bought every possible combination of things we could come up with and every single meal was a failure, with at least 2 people refusing to eat more than 3 or 4 bits of food. 

            They've all learned better now, but it's still a hassle sometimes with the grandkids.

    2. savvydating profile image83
      savvydatingposted 3 years ago in reply to this

      I have mixed emotions about the reward system. The thing is, will you also have to reward your child for making his bed or cleaning his room? Actually, I think your child is doing well if he likes vegetables. Maybe he just isn't a big meat eater. I agree with Beth 37. No need to make an issue about it. Make less fish sticks, etc. rather than "waste" food. That being said, I do think it is good to tell them to eat just two bites and lthen, as a parent, give it a rest. Anyway, that's what I did and it worked well. There were never any "fights" at the table. Thr other benefit is that the kid knows when to say no to excess food as they grow older.

  2. Booknook profile image61
    Booknookposted 3 years ago

    I've gotten my son to eat octopus, mushrooms, and popcorn shrimp already and he loves all of it.