Getting fussy kids to eat can be a real challenge for parents and The Doctors welcome pediatrician Dr. Dafna Ahdoot to share tips on how to make the most of mealtime and also what parents should avoid doing.
The Doctors share 2 videos of parents beating up stuffed animals when their child refuses to eat, something the panel strongly discourages. Clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Ho says of the tactic seen in the video, "That was SO not okay... you're teaching them that violence is the answer." She explains even if it works in the moment, this type of method is not seen as a longterm solution, and over time, this can create "decreased empathy" in children.
Instead of using violence, Dr. Ahdoot suggests using these tips to help kids to successfully eat:
Keep mealtime positive: She says to create a relaxed meal at the table and be aware of what they enjoy eating and what they do no like.
Baby-led weaning: Dr. Ahdoot says once they can eat "finger foods" (soft foods like bananas and avocados) place them in front of the child and allow them to reach for the foods and feed themselves, which creates independence and autonomy and may make for a more well-rounded eater later in life.
Have a structured mealtime: The pediatrician says to limit snacks before a meal and try to have meals at the same time each day. She also suggests having kids help you prepare the meal. Also, turn off the TV, devices and put away books and focus on the meal. She also suggest having the entire family sit with the child at the table and have a calm and relaxed meal as a group.