Understanding Your Child’s Eating Habits and Needs

Before you get your child to eat something with a parent’s authoritative power, understand their needs and habits. It is all about observing, analyzing, and developing ways to deal so that it is less stressful for your child as well.1, 2, 3


Keeping a Record

The best way to know what your child likes is keeping a seven day record of their behaviour around food. By doing this, you can see what the amount of certain food item brings the particular behaviour. Are they getting too many snacks and junk food? If they are, it can explain certain hyperactiveness and extreme lows. Remember that as they grow, their hunger patterns will change so by keeping a record, a parent can properly gage to provide the best support.1, 2

You can absolutely control what they are getting, so as long as you are providing options. Best way to know what they like? Take them shopping and involve them in the meal preparations. Along with that, use ‘hunger prompts’ before each set mealtime, rather than forcing meals.1, 2


They are modeling after you

Instead of dictation, use guiding methods while giving your child opportunities to make choices. If you want them to eat healthy, do it yourself too. If you want your child to try new things, you have to eat it too. If they see you eating junk and sugar foods all the time, but you will not let them have any, you will find it difficult to get them to eat anything else. Avoid watching TV while eating or using technology yourself because those distractions will impede the feelings of fullness.13   


Are they seeing food as a punishment?

When foods are used as a reward to placate a punishment or withheld for bad behaviour, food will become a coping mechanism for stress or other emotions. Peasantry in your presence when there is food, will encourage them to eat well rather than eat and rush off or not eat at all to avoid interaction. Step back and look at stressors, not only in food, but other areas of their lives. Being stressed around food not only affects their emotions, but also their digestion, resulting in long term detrimental health problems.13



  1. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/worried-your-child-is-not-eating-well/habits-and-needs
  2. https://pediasurearabia.com/ae/en/child-nutrition/worried-your-child-is-not-eating-well/understand-hunger-signals
  3. https://www.webmd.com/children/kids-healthy-eating-habits