18 answers

6 1/2 Year Old Doesn't Want to eat....help!

My daughter is 6 1/2, weighs around 40 pounds, going into 1st grade.
She gives me fits at every meal about not eating. Says she isn't hungry, stalls eating by going to the bathroom, etc...is it possible that she just doesn't want to eat or should I seek medical advice?
Any POSITIVE, HELPFUL feedback would be appreciated.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

hi M., you didn't state if yer lil girl snacks much between meals..even alil bit or drinking a glass of water can have a big effect on their eating. Has she always been this way? Is school just starting for her? just the new routine with school and all can maybe throw her schedule off too. I have a lil boy,5, and i noticed over the summer that i had to stop letting him eat and drink (cept for a sip of water when actually thirsty) by 2 pm, so he would actually be hungry for dinner by 5. GL :)

1 mom found this helpful

I was a very picky eater(one thing on my plate at a time etc.)as a child ,only liked velveeta cheese, no other kind etc., was VERY skinny- Boy! WERE THOSE THE GOOD OLD DAYS!!! She will not starve, just present her with healthy choices and let her eat what she needs. Too many kids today are overweight. My Mom used to have a fit about me not eating too. Hope this helps

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I wonder if it's gotten to a control issue for her. Maybe instead of fighting with her or making a big deal out of eating, just say "okay, you can have your dinner when you are hungry." Then just have her sit while the family eats. If you stop the cycle, I wonder if she will stop fighting you.

1 mom found this helpful

Hmmm....sounds like my little one. He is right about that weight and is 7 1/2. He eats like a bird most days, but then will hit a spurt of being hubgry al the time. Honestly, I know the concern, as I've had the same thing. For a while I gave in and would allow pudding for breakfast and stuff like that just because he wouldn't eat anything else. Now it doesn't matter WHAT I make, he whines...I don't like that. So now he eats what we eat or his only options are cold meat or peanut butter. If you offer other things constantly, you'll end up making different meals all the time!!! lol One thing I do is to get Carnation instant breakfast....I used to work in a nursing home, and they'd make the residents these drinks to add calories. Does your daughter drink strawberry or chocolate milk? Both these flavors are available. Also you can get Ensure (or as I do, get the off brand) This at the bursing home was frequently used for meal replacement. My daughter is 2 and is only in about the 25-30th percentile for her weight. I occasionally get some Ensure or pediasure and give her a bottle once a day. Adds some calories. Other than that, relax. Is your daughter sick? My kiddo is a skinny britches, but he is otherwise healthy and active (for a kid who have far too many video game systems). He play soccer, football, and baseball. He is very smart and really....other than being skinny, I don't worry about him. I was that way when I was little, and now, well, let's just say I'm not so much that way. I hope she begins to eat better for you. I wouldn't worry too much. Oh...if it makes you feel any better, my niece is 3 1/2 and isn't much bigger than my 2 year old who is tiny. My niece isn't even ON the growth chart!! lol And she is healthy and happy. Offer frequent healthy snacks...grapes, raisins, the instant breakfast or Ensure. Even if it means grazing all day. That's all my doctor told me. Don't waste your money to go hear the same thing, unless your daughter is sick. Feel free to email me. I'm no doctor, but I do have a picky eater too! Have a great week

1 mom found this helpful

If you are worried, I would probably ask the doctor for advice. It may just be that your daughter is going to be little. Since she is six, I would think she would definitely know if she is or is not hungry. I would talk to the doctor so they can make you feel better about whatever is going on.

1 mom found this helpful

She is testing the limits here to see what she can get away with. Give her set meal and snack times and don't let her "graze" throughout the day. She is old enough to understand that if she doesn't eat her breakfast, there will be no food until lunch time. Fix her plate at the table along with everyone else and make her sit there with the family until everyone is finished. If she chooses not to eat, fine, but she still needs to sit and be respectful toward the rest of the family. Also, do not give her options when it comes to meals. Whatever you're fixing for dinner is what she has to eat and if she doesn't like it...tough. It is very hard to do this "to" your own child (I know, I've been there) but after a week or so of no options and no choices and not just eating whenever she feels like it, she will realize that you're not budging and she'll start to come around.

Another thing you don't want to do is bargain with her...as in..."if you eat 3 bits of your chicken you can be done." She should be expected to eat until her belly tells her it is full and then sit and rest while everyone else finishes.

She will not starve herself...human instinct will take over and she will eat when she is hungry enough...and she will eat what is available to her, so make sure it is worth eating.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi, M.,

My daughter is M., also, but we shorten it to Jorie. :)

Anyway, she will be 7 the beginning of October, and weighs 37 lbs. She is the worst when it comes to eating! She's usually "not hungry" and is so darn SLOW when she does eat. Drives me nuts.

However, since this has been going on most of her life, I have resigned myself to just keeping the snack shelves in the fridge filled with healthy snacks and whenever the kiddos (my 10 yo son is 53 lbs) are hungry, they are allowed to help themselves. If it's healthy, I don't care how close to dinner time it is. I mean, seriously, what's the difference?? They're eating and it's good for them.

Then I just give them a little to eat at meals, and if they don't eat it, I don't have to stress because I know they've eaten something, at least. We just make meal times more about the family being together rather than the eating part.

Children won't starve themselves, so you need not worry about that. And she's too young for it to be anything mental (anorexia or the like)

So, keep providing those healthy snacks, and let her eat however much she wants at meals (but she should still have to sit with the family at the table until you're done). And the suggestion about the smoothies was great. It's a good way to get calories into her, if you're worried about the nutrition end of it.

Take a deep breath - :) - this too shall pass. (Personally, I wish I could be like our daughters! Then I wouldn't weigh 180 lbs!)


1 mom found this helpful

My best friend has a five yr old who has done the same thing. One day he likes green beans and two days later he doesn't. It got to the point were he would make heself throw up and say he was sick so he woundn't have to eat. he's a little better now. So my friend would let the kids choose once a week or so something they wanted to eat and that help. Its seens that the more simple the meal is the more the kids liked it. With the five yr old, he likes kectup, so they let him put kectup on things that he didn't like very much. Sometimes they would give him a choice eat or go to bed. One evening i was over there and he woundn't eat and his brother and sister got to have marshmallows and he missed out. By the way, she makes foods that they like and only gives each kid the amount they can eat and can have seconds if wanted. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

I agree someone who suggested she's testing her boundaries, and I also agree with someone else who said that if she's hungry enough, she'll eat.

My mother would tell us, "This is what's for dinner. You can either eat dinner with the family or go hungry." I always hated that, but it's worked for many, and probably worth a try. If it is that she's testing her boundaries - like Dr. Phil says, "Pick your battles wisely. If you do chose to pick a battle, make sure you win." So, I guess in a way, I'm saying proceed with caution.

I have a 6 year old who is sometimes fickle like that. We have typically given her a choice. Do you want PB&J or chicken nuggets? If she asks for something different, and it isn't too much trouble, we'll usually "entertain it". But there are times when we say, "That isn't on the menu...it's PB&J or chicken nuggets." Sometimes she says she doens't want anything, only to ask for a pop-tart later. We'll tell her she can have the pop-tart, as long as she has a PB&J or chicken nuggets FIRST.

But as other said, you might want to keep an eye on the grazing...it could be that she really isn't hungry because of the grazing, or it could be that she just got done going through a growth spurt and really isn't hungry. (I can tell when my oldest is going through one because she's ALWAYS hungry during the growth spurts.)

For what it's worth...and good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


I had this problem with my daugther and my ped doc said to give her a carnation instant breakfast once a day. My doc said it has all the nutrients she needs.

Hope this helps, best of luck!

1 mom found this helpful

1 / 3
Required Fields

Our records show that we already have a Mamapedia or Mamasource account created for you under the email address you entered.

Please enter your Mamapedia or Mamasource password to continue signing in.

Required Fields

, you’re almost done...

Since this is the first time you are logging in to Mamapedia with Facebook Connect, please provide the following information so you can participate in the Mamapedia community.

As a member, you’ll receive optional email newsletters and community updates sent to you from Mamapedia, and your email address will never be shared with third parties.

By clicking "Continue to Mamapedia", I agree to the Mamapedia Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.