Causes of Difficulty Eating Children and How to Overcome It

Causes of Difficulty Eating Children and How to Overcome It

Dealing with hard-to-eat children does require patience and its own strategy. Therefore, it is important for every parent to know the cause of the child's difficulty eating and how to overcome it, so that the child's nutritional needs are still met.


Children usually find it difficult to eat or become picky eaters when they are 1 year old. However, there are also children who have difficulty eating when they are 2-5 years old.

At that time, the child's growth became slightly slower when compared to the previous period. This can make his appetite decrease, so that the child does not want to eat or only wants to eat a little.

Recognizing the Cause of Difficulty Eating Children and How to Overcome It

When dealing with a child who has difficulty eating, parents need to first identify what causes it. Each cause has a different approach or way of dealing with it. The following are some of the reasons why children have difficulty eating:

1. Refuse to eat

For children, eating is a skill that has just been mastered. Choosing what food he wants to put in his mouth is very important.

No wonder that some children can devour the food provided by their parents on the first day, but refuse the next day. When his thoughts or interests change, his appetite can change too.

Suggestion: Try to be more patient and don't force your little one to eat. Instead of worrying about calorie intake or nutrients that your little one doesn't get, you can try to calculate their nutritional needs and intake for the past 1 week.

2. Choose only certain foods

For toddlers, eating solid food is a new thing or ability he can do. Therefore, it takes time for them to get used to the variety of colors, tastes, and textures of food.

At this time, children can also learn to eat independently, including any food that goes into his mouth.

Suggestion: Introduce various types of food slowly to the Little One who has difficulty eating. After being served a few times, your little one may be interested in eating it.

Mothers can also introduce new types of food that are served along with their favorite foods. In addition, avoid eating close to bedtime, because fatigue can also affect your little one's interest in trying new foods.

3. Only want fast food

Fast food is generally high in salt, sugar, and fat or cholesterol and low in essential nutrients, such as protein, vitamins, and minerals. If consumed in excess, these unhealthy foods can make children more at risk of developing diabetes, overweight or obesity, and high blood pressure.

Some examples of fast food that children usually like are ice cream, French fries, pizza, and soft drinks.

Suggestion: Don't keep fast food at home or make it a habit to order and eat fast food. This is because children will usually imitate the behavior of their parents, including in matters of food.

As an alternative, provide healthy food every time at home so that your little one gets used to eating healthy food.

4. Don't want to eat after eating a lot yesterday

This is very common in children aged 12 months to 3 years. There are times when the child's appetite seems big, then the opposite happens the next day. This is very natural to happen.

Suggestion: Mother does not need to force the Little One. Set a time limit for your little one to eat the food that has been provided. Next, ask your little one to eat no more than the specified time limit.

In addition, limit the consumption of packaged fruit juices and milk. Eating too much of it makes your little one feel full easily, so he doesn't want to eat.

5. Eat only one type of food

It's not uncommon for a child to suddenly have difficulty eating for days or only want to eat one type of food. One reason is that children are not interested in new foods that they are not familiar with.

Suggestion: You should stay calm and still offer other food options, but don't force or scold your little one, if he doesn't want to eat it.

For older children, you can set a strategy by taking them to the supermarket. Ask your child to choose two types of fruits and vegetables and one type of snack. Arriving at home, invite your little one to prepare food before consuming it.

6. Don't want to eat your favorite food all of a sudden

Mothers may be confused when your little one suddenly refuses the type of food he usually eats, or no longer wants to drink milk that is usually consumed every day.

Advice: Don't panic, this may only be temporary. If your little one doesn't want to eat today, that doesn't mean he won't like it forever. Keep offering the food your child refuses the next day.

If your child refuses to drink milk, choose other foods containing milk, such as yogurt or cheese. If your child refuses vegetables, balance his nutritional intake with fruits.

Tips for Dealing with Difficult Children Eating

For children, eating is included in the process of learning and exploration. To increase appetite in children who have difficulty eating, there are several things you can do, including:
  • Hold regular family meals and let your little one see the people around them eating a variety of healthy foods.
  • Make a regular eating schedule, namely 3 main meals and 2 snacks every day, and limit the time to about 30 minutes for each meal.
  • Let your little one eat on their own and provide food that is easy to hold and put in his mouth.
  • Give it in small portions first and praise your little one when he finishes it.
  • Use tableware with interesting pictures and colors or what he likes.
  • Invite other children to eat together.
  • Keep the television, games, pets, and things that can distract him while eating.
  • Involve your little one in processing food, from buying, cleaning, cooking, to serving it at the dinner table. This might make him more appetizing and curious about the food he makes.
To ensure the nutritional adequacy of your little one, you can make a note of the food and drinks he consumes for a week and make sure he gets a balanced nutritious diet.

Don't forget to regularly weigh your body to ensure that your nutritional intake is met. If his weight is balanced or in accordance with his age, this means that his nutritional intake is still adequate.

Difficulty eating children can be a problem that is not easy to handle. As a parent, you need to be more patient and creative to change your little one's eating habits.

Dealing with a hard-to-eat child is not an easy matter. If you have tried the various efforts above but your little one is still having trouble eating, or if he is experiencing nutritional deficiencies that make it difficult for him to gain weight, you should consult this with your doctor