Avoid forcing your child to eat

  • Most children are fearful of trying new food. They can take up to 15 tries or more to accept a new taste.
  • If your child appears to dislike a particular food, stop and try it again a few days later. Keep going until she gets used to it.
  • Avoid forcing the spoon into your child’s mouth as this will create a negative experience during feeding and hinder future feeding experiences.

Family mealtimes

  • Eating together at mealtimes may help your child learn and be more interested in food as she watches everyone else eat.

Limit mealtimes to under 30 minutes

  • Meal times should not last for more than 30 minutes as a child may lose interest or get tired.

Avoid distractions

  • The use of television, toys or videos should be avoided and discouraged during feeding.
  • Reduced attention to food may lead to reduced interest towards food, and affect the learning of important feeding skills such as chewing.
  • Over time, your child may also learn to rely on these distractions to feed.

Food play

  • Allow your child to play with food. It is part of the learning process of eating!
  • Let your child see, handle or play with empty bowls and spoons to get her interested in eating.
  • You can present food in an interesting manner such as making a happy face with cereal on a plate.

Praise and encouragement

  • Do not forget to praise your child when she attempts a new food or learns a new skill during feeding.
  • Aim for feeding to be a positive and happy experience for your child!

Contributed by:
Speech Language Therapy Service, KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital