Why is it preferable to meet alone when evaluating your child under the age of 13?
As a parent, you make weekly trips to the grocery store, choosing the foods that will be available to your child during meals and in easily accessible places like the refrigerator and pantry. Therefore, you have control over the quality of the foods offered to your child. Additionally, it's important to remember that children learn by imitation. If other family members don't regularly eat healthy foods, it will be difficult for the child to avoid those foods if they are the only ones without access to them.
Your Child's Appetite
A child's appetite varies from day to day and even within the same day. The explanation is simple: appetite is influenced by growth. Contrary to popular belief, growth doesn't occur in a linear fashion; it happens in spurts. There's no need to worry if your child doesn't seem to have an appetite during a meal. In such situations, it's crucial not to force the child to finish their plate or reprimand them for not doing so.
It's important to note that your child's appetite remains the best guide for their daily energy intake needs. By forcing them to finish their plate, they may lose confidence in their own physiological signals (such as signals of satiety) and learn to rely on external cues, like the amount of food remaining on their plate. Relying on external cues may lead the child to consume more food than their actual needs. Be aware that your reflex may be to restrict their food intake now that they are older. However, by imposing restrictions on your child's eating, you don't promote physiological signals. Instead, you should revert to your role as a parent and let the child reconnect with their physiological signals.
Your Role as a Parent
If the child shows resistance to certain foods and mealtime creates anxiety for them, it's essential to remember that you have a significant influence on your child. Your responsibility is to control the mealtime (when it occurs), the dining area, the atmosphere during meals (at the table, in a relaxed environment), and the food quality (what's served at meals and in the refrigerator/pantry). Therefore, you have a great impact on the food offering. The only responsibility that falls on your child is determining how much food they want to eat.
In conclusion, as a parent, you hold the power to shape your child's eating habits by providing a supportive environment and offering nutritious food choices. However, if you need personalized guidance and expert advice on fostering a healthy relationship with food for your child, don't hesitate to schedule a meeting with a dietitian from our experienced team. Together, we can create a positive impact on your child's nutritional journey! Take the first step towards a healthier future for your family and book a consultation with us today.