Home => How To Feed Children => Child Development - Ages and Stages => 3 to 5 Years: Feeding Your Preschooler
Compared with feeding the toddler, feeding the preschooler is easy. Your preschooler wants to please you and wants to get better at all that he does - including eating. But in some ways, that makes feeding harder. You can get your preschooler to eat more, less, or different foods than he wants. But if you do, it will make him feel bad about eating. He will lose his pleasure in learning to eat the foods you eat. He will lose his ability to eat as much as he is hungry for and stop when he is full. He will, that is, provided he is a compliant child. If he is not so compliant, he will fight back and feeding will become a battle ground. Stow your agendas, make meals with food you enjoy, eat with him, and follow the division of responsibility in feeding. Then trust your preschooler manage his own eating
Have 3 meals a day at set times and
at more-or-less set times. Say no to between-times food and beverage grazing - except for water.
Sit down and eat with him, don't just feed him. Be good company.
Let him serve himself and eat his way - fast or slow, much or little
1 or 2 foods
. Let him have more of any food (except dessert), even if he hasn't cleaned his plate.
Be realistic about table manners - he will use his fingers along with his silverware, and he will make less of a mess than he did earlier. Excuse him when he is done.
For more about feeding your preschooler (and for research backing up this advice), see Ellyn Satter's Child of Mine; Feeding with Love and Good Sense, Bull Publishing, 2000. Also see www.EllynSatter.com to purchase books and to review comprehensive educational materials that teach stage-related feeding and solve feeding problems.
See also: Division of Responsibility in Feeding and Division of Responsibility in Activity
Copyright © 2012 by Ellyn Satter. Published at www.EllynSatter.com.
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