69 Answers

I have a question!  My daughter has just recently turned 5 and the last few weeks we are having issues with her not eating her dinner!  She will NOT eat anything!  She has breakfast, then at school she has morning tea and lunch and yet her lunch box is always almost untouched.  She always asks for afternoon tea (which I used to give her, but not anymore) and then dinner.  I have tried everything I can think of to get her to eat dinner – no afternoon tea, sit there till its all gone, have a bath and straight to bed, taken her favourite toy off her, given her favourite meal (but I now refuse to let her eat the same thing every night), used the dessert bribe…..but she still will not eat her dinner.  Has anyone else gone through this and any ideas as to what I can do? How can I get my 5 year old to eat dinner? Thanks in Advance!

Posted by Kim 21/06/2013

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  • Yes, we’ve gone through that too. I don’t really have an answer sorry.
    Let her know what is expected.
    Change up the food. ie instead of tuna mornay with pasta try putting the mornay into hollowed out bread rolls and they can eat their bowls after eating the mornay!
    Have patience, she will eat, one day.
    Keep things in perspective. if she isn’t underweight then try to not get too stressed about it.
    Good luck!

  • Have dinner earlier! She is obviously hungry when she gets home. And having dinner prepared earlier for her will mean she’s eating her proper meal.

  • she will eat if she is hungry, we shouldn’t force kids to eat if they aren’t hungry because this is what causes obesity. Just make sure she has a good breakfast and plenty of fluids

  • Thankfully I’ve never been through this, but its not uncommon, just remember no child will ever intentionally starve its self!

  • It may just be a stage. You could talk to her about it and ask her why shes not eating.

  • If she’s going to bed and sleeping through, I can’t imagine it would be doing her that much harm. Its probably just one of those phases they get where they eat like birds.

  • With so much of valuable advice from so many mums I am sure you got the required information

  • get her to help you a bit with the cooking and say no tv till she eats some of her food

  • If a kid is hungry, they will eat- theyre not going to starve themselves for the sake of a chocolate bikkie

  • That’s a phase I wouldn’t worry at all! My daughter and niece both were like that

  • I think the key is to not react and it will sort itself out? My son is like this and it troubles me, but we get enough food into him somehow for me to not always worry about specific food time slots (eg if he sometimes wants a breakfast food at dinner, I just give it to him..who really cares so long as he eats something nutritious?)

  • Maybe try being a little more creative with dinner, have you tried fish fingers, or even savory mince my little boy is 5 and loves it, hop it all works out good luck ;)

  • As long as your child is growing normally, she’s probably okay, even if she doesn’t seem to be eating enough. It’s quite common for children at this age to have trouble sitting still for meals, to eat irregularly, and to be very picky about food.

    You may be tempted to try to force your child to eat more, but don’t: The more pressure you put on her, the more she’ll resist and the less she’ll eat. Instead, offer her a range of healthy foods, eat them yourself so you’re setting a good example, and then sit back and let her choose what she wants to eat, and how much.

    Don’t worry – she won’t starve. A study from the American Dietetic Association showed that nearly all children will eat enough to meet their nutritional needs when they have access to a variety of foods, even those whose mothers described them as extremely picky eaters.

    Normal growth is the best indicator of adequate nutrition, so if your child is maintaining adequate growth in both height and weight (which your doctor can help you determine), then she’s getting plenty of calories. Talk to your child’s doctor at the next well-child visit (or make an appointment before then if you’re really concerned) to confirm that your child is growing at the expected rate.

    Even if your child is getting enough calories to grow, you may worry that she’s not getting these calories from the right sources. If that’s the case, try writing down what she eats for about a week (without making a big deal about it in front of her). You’ll probably find that she’s eating better than you thought.

    If she seems deficient in any one food group, try offering more foods from that group for a while. If that doesn’t work, you may want to ask your child’s doctor to recommend an appropriate multivitamin to help meet your child’s nutritional needs

  • My sister used to do exactly the same thing. First up – no tv etc til you finish your dinner! Secondly, try to get her involved- maybe you could help her to plant something she likes and show her how it gets to the table- she might enjoy it more if she has done some hard work to get it!

  • My daughter doesn’t like her dinner either, we make faces and volcanoes and different stuff and she now loves to eat the inside out of the volcanoes and eat the ears, nose etc. She has fun while doing it.

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