A mom asks Dr. Bill for advice on winning mealtime battles with her 5-year-old Show Notes

Friday, January 10, 2014 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Dear Dr. Bill,

Do you have any suggestions for encouraging a 5 year old boy to eat without it becoming a huge issue?

--Kim  

Dear Kim,

Judging from your question, it sounds like mealtime for your 5 year old has already become an issue.  

Many parents give in to their child’s finicky eating patterns when they are toddlers.  They let their child dictate what they will eat, how much they will eat, and when they will eat it.  Now that your son is 5, he’s had his way for several years and he’s pretty much running the show.

It’s time for you to regain your role as parent, and show your little guy who’s boss.  Your job is to provide him with a variety of healthy foods at predictable meal times, and his job is to eat them.  

If he decides he doesn’t like what the rest of the family is eating and insists on something different, don’t give in to him.  Simply inform him that this is what the family is eating for dinner tonight, and there are no other options.

If your son decides he wants to go on a hunger strike, let him.  Wrap up his dinner, put it in the fridge, and let him know that when he gets hungry you’ll heat it up for him.  Then you need to stick to your guns, no matter how much he whines and complains.  

Whatever you do, DON’T allow him to snack on anything else.  Your son won’t starve, trust me.  The amazing thing about the stomach…eventually it contracts and sends strong signals to the brain that can’t be ignored. At that point, even cold mashed potatoes look good.

Thanks for writing, Kim.  I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.
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