Little children can be more interested in eating or taking their meals if their table is set right. Once the child begins sitting, it is prudent to allow them sit before meals are fed to them. This is how they learn to sit and eat.
Getting them very colourful and attractive tables and chairs is a step in the right direction. Make sure that their bowls, plates and spoons are also colourful and beautiful.
Whereas one or two toys can be used as a bait to get them sit and eat; you do not have to convert their dining table or dining area into another playground. If you do this, they will soon lose interest in their meals to the toys. They will play rather than eat as they grow.
While it is a good idea to train children to sit and eat, some of them will want to be chased around with their food. They will want to change their sitting position after every spoon of food.
Mothers and caregivers will have to do their bidding to enable them have enough food. Some of them will spread their food all over the table or floor and end up eating just a little.
Pay attention to your child’s food preference. It might interest you to note that little children also like and dislike certain foods. Just observe when you feed them.
The foods they do not like will be rejected anytime you feed those foods to them. They will readily accept the ones they like. It is not good to keep feeding them the foods they do not like.
Give them their preference more of the time. They will grow out of some of the dislikes for food. Thus they will eat some of the foods they reject earlier in life as they advance in age.
Feed them on demand
This may require that you feed them even at night. As they grow, they will learn the normal way of life; which is eating breakfast in the morning, lunch in the afternoon and supper at night. But for now, their eating pattern may not follow what we want as parents.
Feeding them at odd hours may be the order of the day. Some babies or children will cry all night simply because they are thirsty or hungry. They cannot say what they feel.
Meeting these demands promptly will guaranty a good night sleep for them and their parents as well.
Since their stomachs are tiny, most of them will accept just a little food per meal. They will feel hungry soon again so be ready to give them food as they demand.
Some of them will not even demand but with experience, parents try giving them food which they accept. A mother will know when their child is hungry.
The early child is forced to go to school at a much earlier age nowadays than it used to be. They have to be fed at school.
The question is what are these children being fed? Do they receive their meals at all? Is it the case that once they refuse food at meal times their teachers or caregivers refuse to try again later? This can be possible due to the numbers of children under their care.
Where these numbers are large, you can be assured that they may not receive the care that is parallel to what they would be given at home.
We can only appeal to school owners to be sincere in the care rendered to these little children placed under their watch.
One thing which can help these schools is the need to admit numbers that their staff strength can adequately cater for. Pay attention to quality and not only quantity.
To be continued
The writer is a dietician at the Trust Hospital and author of "Eating to prevent and manage lifestyle diseases" and “Answers for your diet”. For copies call or WhatsApp 0244090262, Facebook: LETS Consult and email: firstname.lastname@example.org