All of us educated moms and dads know the importance of healthy eating. We know we need to provide our child a balanced diet – which includes carbohydrates, proteins, fat, vitamins and minerals. We also know that many international organizations advise parents to feed their child at least one serving of 4-5 fruits and vegetables every day. All these seem sensible and doable, till the point you load up your child’s plate and put it in front of them. That’s when the real battle begins. Your child does not want to eat some or all of the plate’s content. You cajole, scold and shout to force-feed your child. The end result is an exhausted and irritated you and a completely unhappy and upset child. This need not and should not be the case.
Parents often think that their children are much younger and hence do not know how much and how often to eat. They also believe that they want their kids to grow strong and healthy, and that is why they need to force-feed. But what essentially comprises force-feeding a child? The below pointers will just show how much parents tend to control when it comes to eating:
This is not all. Some children cry or vomit during meals, but parents counter that as well with more food, besides going through emotional trauma. Parents, especially in developing countries, feel insecure about their kids’ physical stature and are often worried that they are not ‘as strong as they should be’. However forcing your kid to eat has its own negative effects, and ultimately leads to unhealthy eating habits. Read on to understand the negative effects of force-feeding, and tips to help your child better.
As a parent, your first duty is to feed the kids. But the majority of us take this too seriously and make it our life’s mission to ensure the child licks clean the plate/bowl in front of them. Here are some of the common mistakes we are doing:
This happens almost all over the world, but is more dominant in India, where parents use physical and psychological ways to make children polish their plates clean. Mostly, Indian moms feel that unless they are satisfied, the kid cannot have enough food. Sadly, we end up forcing kids to eat what they may not want to, both on the quality and quantity aspects.
Here are plenty of reasons why you should not force-feed your kid. For starters, force-feeding imbibes unhealthy eating habits in the child, which stay lifelong. Some other pointers to consider the next time you push your child to finish their cereal are:
Here are a few tips to help you avoid force feeding:
Always remember to focus the kid’s attention on eating while having their meal.They tend to get distracted easily.
Yes, there are instances when parents have to force-feeding their children, for example, when a child is so excited about playing cricket that they miss their lunch and do not want to eat till the game is over. Or your child might have fallen asleep before you could serve them dinner. In such scenarios, kids shun away from food and do not want to eat. However, experts recommend that even under these circumstances, it is best to let the kids eat when they want to, and how much they want to.
There are quite a lot of things you can do to ensure that your child eats healthy. This includes letting your child decide the quantity of food they want to eat, feeding on time, being a good role model and encouraging your child to exercise. For more details on how to inculcate healthy eating habits in kids click here.
It is also important to provide your child with a balanced diet. But as you know now, forcing your kid to eat has certain negative impacts too. Also, consult your doctor if your kid is giving you a tough time while having meals. Remember force feeding is not your solution.