Our younger child watches TV when she gets home from school, while our teen is on the internet. It is always hard to make them come to the table. They will typically grab a plate and go on with their viewing/browsing.

Tired of Begging

Dear TB:

This is a tough one that most of us have to deal with. Communication is key. If you make it known how valuable mealtimes are for you to connect with your kids, then give them a five minute heads up before the meal, they're more likely to comply. They may grumble a bit, but inside, they're probably as grateful for the time together as you are.

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  • My 3.5 year old doesn't eat fruits or vegetables. He hasn't had any since birth. He is very hesitant to try new things. I think he is almost afraid of food. I try not to push thinking that it is a phase, but the phase is still not over. On top of that lately he wouldn't sit at the table and it is a battle to get him to stop playing to eat. He says he is not hungry but he could spend 6 hours or more without any food. We give him a 5 min warning to come to the table and it is turning into a power struggle. I think I need some help from a professional on a regular basis to coach us through this. Do you offer in person or phone services? Do you have a list of health professionals (specialized in children, i.e. kids nutritionists/ pediatritians in Victoria)? Thank you

    Worried mom 24 July 2011, at 5:51 pm

  • Dear Worried Mom, We do not offer in person or phone services but can point you to some resources you may find helpful. Ellyn Satter is an acclaimed expert in child feeding relationships and provides tips for parents of children who don't eat fruit or vegetables on her website. Check the section on How to Feed Children where you will find 'The Child Who Doesn't Eat Fruits and Vegetables. In addition, the website provides a wealth of tips that may help make your family meal experience more enjoyable. You can also check with your local health unit and ask to see one of the registered dietitians who work with young children. We hope these resources help you address some of your worries.

    Better Together 9 August 2011, at 1:29 pm

  • As a mom with a boy who LOVES tv: I found it really helpful to include him in on the decision making process. "We have to eat dinner together as a family because it's an important part of being a family--talking, sharing our day, a chance for me to catch up with you. I am happy for you to watch tv, but there has to be a limit. My idea is half an hour." He came back with 44 minutes. Fine by me. I also asked him (and this was a risk) to set the table, and make it fun like putting candles out or mixing a few juices together, so he would feel a part of the whole process. For the mom who can't get her child to eat vegetables, don't worry. As long as the doctor says he's okay, he's okay. I found it to be a power struggle more than anything else, and the bigger deal I made about it, the bigger deal it became. I put out a few different vegetables every meal,really easy--boil them for a few minutes w/a little salt and olive oil in the water and dress them with the same or roast tossed w/olive oil and salt in the oven at 400 deg. and then just required that my son say their names and smell them. Every night I ask--would you like a carrot? (or whatever is on the table) I accepted whatever answer he gave. Eventually (and I'm talking a long eventually) he came around to eating quite a few. You could try asking him other questions before dinner like, which vegetables does he think would make a good combination and why? (for you--but if he wants to taste that's fine as well, just to be sure he's right.) Put a bunch out--even raw and see what he makes. Let him decorate w/fresh herbs. Planting vegetables in the garden was huge for my son. Like a miracle, after planting sweet peas and watching them grow, he would run out into the garden and eat them off the vine for breakfast. Before he came around to eating much more than carrots and string beans, I made sure he had a lot of fresh fruit sliced up--not the same as veg but a similar freshness factor that they really come around to. Good luck!

    Faye Hess 25 May 2012, at 7:17 am