Child Not Eating? The excuses can be surprising.
There’s always scope to marvel at kids’ creativity. Even if that creativity is used by a child not eating. Some kids will try anything in a bid to avoid the meal you’ve lovingly prepared! And the simple excuse “I’m not hungry” just doesn’t cut it these days!
The problem of a child not eating is surprisingly widespread. And for some parents, it really is a daily nightmare. But it’s important to remember that you’re not alone in this frustrating and confusing situation.
Parents whose children readily eat any meal might wonder why can it can be such an area of frustration.
Well, firstly, it is hugely frustrating when a meal you’ve cooked from scratch is steadfastly refused. You’ve really done your best, at the time of day when you’re most tired, and it can all be for nothing.
Secondly, it can be worrying, because a child not eating can lead to concerns about the nutritional content of their diet. (Although one thing it’s really important to remember here is that you should look at nutritional intake over the period of a week, and not for every meal. No-one can tick all the boxes all of the time.)
Thirdly, it can lead to poor associations with food, especially if mealtimes become a battle ground and the food itself becomes an area over which parents and children struggle to assert control. We all want to make sure our children have a healthy relationship with food – it’s so important throughout their lives.
And of course, for some parents, the experience of a child not eating can become really personally upsetting. We’ve had parents tell us they feel like a failure; like their not doing their job properly – all because of this issue. And it’s an issue that repeats daily.
Well hear this – YOU ARE NOT FAILING, AND YOU ARE NOT ALONE. AND JUST READING THIS POST IS PROOF YOU CARE ABOUT YOUR CHILD NOT EATING, AND WANT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.
How does Gotrovo fit in?
Anyone who knows us here at Gotrovo will know that we care about positive childhood experiences and health. Our active treasure hunt games promote healthy, memory-making fun. Our dinner set game (which is specifically intended for a child not eating) was produced out of our own experience of these struggles.
But we want people to know they’re not alone, or failing. So we thought it would be helpful just to share some of the extraordinary reasons we’ve heard over the years, by way of excuses for our children not eating. It helps build that sense of community and end the isolation of this issue. It helps to know you’re not the only one.
And, laugh or cry, we felt that while our kids are taking the time to create these excuses, we should at least take the time to admire their imagination!
(If you ARE quietly – or not so quietly – despairing over your child not eating, check out the reviews on our Gotrovo Mealtime Treasure Hunt.
As one mum recently said: “This has literally changed my life! I can not recommend this highly enough… I bought two sets and although I could see the potential I was sceptical that it could make a difference to my feral children’s terrible meal times. How wrong I was! It has made such a difference already you wouldn’t believe they were the same children. My 6.5 year old has tried at least two different vegetables every day and pasta that isn’t completely plain, and my son is eating in minutes at the table and restoring peace to the household and making mealtimes a pleasure which I didn’t think was possible!”
Anyway, back to those reasons….
Reasons 1 – 10!
1. My food’s cold and rubbery….(it would be, after sitting untouched for 40 minutes while I repeatedly chant ‘please start eating…pick up your fork…take a mouthful’)
2. You cut it up … I didn’t want it cut up. No it’s NOT the same if you just push it back together!
3. You’ve not cut it up. (Using this line is a mistake on the child’s part, as this ‘problem’ can easily be rectified!)
4. I said I wanted a snack, not food!
5. I wanted something unhealthy to eat, not something healthy. (And thus any attempts to educate them on healthy eating choices completely backfire!)
6. But I had fish fingers for lunch at school…..(mental note to self – check lunchtime menus more carefully!)
7. My legs are telling me not to eat it (honestly, I’ve had this one!)
8. Mummy I want you to do the aeroplane…..no, do the train….no, that’s the wrong noise.
9. I already tried this food at [Sophie’s] house and it’s disgusting!
10. Have you peeled my peas, I’ll only eat them if you’ve peeled them?
Reasons 11 – 21
11. I want Daddy to feed me….when he gets home from work…. in several hours!
12. It’s a hot day, so I only want cold food. It’s a cold day, so now I want hot food. (Ironically ALL of their food is cold, regardless of cooking, because it takes an hour to eat it.)
13. Alex gets blueberry muffins and pancakes for breakfast EVERY day…why don’t we? Toast and cereal are BORING!
14. It fell on the floor…and now the dog is licking it (hmmmm, I wonder how?)
15. You cooked the broccoli the wrong way, it’s too crunchy/mushy/healthy for me!
16. It’s got SAUCE on it …I can’t eat a potato that’s had any degree of contact with a baked bean!
17. I said I wanted gravy on the side, not all over. Now it’s RUINED! (Usually accompanied by tears)
18. The bowl looks better worn upside down on my head than being used for my cereal. (I confess I’ve not heard this one…it’s more my inner dialogue as I wonder what on earth has gone on in the moment my back was turned!)
19. But porridge looks great decorating the wall….where’s your interior design sense mummy?! (More inner dialogue)
20. I like peas, and I like sweet corn, but I don’t eat them mixed together.
21. My vegetables hurt my wobbly tooth, can I stop eating them until my tooth falls out? (Oooh, crafty – appealing for sympathy over pain!)
So what was our approach to our child not eating?
We can honestly say that with seven children between us, we’ve heard every one of these lines from a child not eating. It was these excuses, and the genuine frustration and worry that went with them, that drove us to design our solution for fussy eaters.
You can watch a number videos and reivews about it here. It REALLY works (we’re mums who’ve lived this daily pain, so we’re not in the business of making false promises). The changes in behaviour can be seen really quickly, restoring pleasure to mealtimes. What’s more, the set is flexible enough to target any behaviour (fussy eating, slow eating, not sitting at the table and so forth).
So we can honestly say that while we’ve heard all these excuses, they are now largely in our past. We’re not pretending our children have been miraculously transformed into confident eaters who are therefore willing to try any new taste. But we do have the tools in place to tackle most mealtime frustrations. And with the fear, control issues, and frustration behind us, we find that we can now use the line “just try it” – or even “just eat it” – with not much more than a grimace…and a mouthful…to follow!
So breathe. We’re with you! Tomorrow is another day! x