"Seeking Moms in USA"

Updated on January 02, 2009
C.P. asks from Las Vegas, NM
15 answers

To let me know what they do when a 6year old will not eat at meal times and snacks during the whole day?

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answers from Albuquerque on

DON'T GIVE HER ANY SNACKS! THROW THEM OUT! THROW THEM AWAY! If you don't have the snacks, then she can't eat them then she will be hungry for meals! I can't believe that this question deserves any more comment than that!

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Phoenix on

Hi, Christina -
This may sound ridiculously simple, and I understand that putting it into practice is not. The answer is this. Offer your daughter three nutritious meals and one or two small, healthy snacks a day, and that's it. Do not allow her to eat anything else. I go through this with my almost-five year old. She goes through periods where she refuses her meals, then begs for food, sometimes only MINUTES after I've thrown her uneaten meal down the disposal. It's completely aggravating, especially when I go out of my way to prepare foods I know she likes. I think they're simply at an age where they'd rather graze all day on juice boxes, goldfish and cookies than eat chicken and broccoli. Who wouldn't? I want my daughter to be fit and healthy - not only now, but for her lifetime, and I'm sure you do, too. In order for that to happen, we have to ignore their cries that they're "starving" when they've just rejected their dinner. It's tough to feel like the meanie Mom, but we have to do what's best for them.
Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Hello Christina.

I must agree completely with Kristin R.

We have 6 children ages 7mos - 15yrs.
All of my 5 older children have gone through this at least once.

They know now that if they refuse a meal it will either:
A. be saved for them for the next time they are hungry.
B. they go without

And if they choose B. then they do not eat again until the next main meal (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner) and they are not offered a snack.

When weighing out their options and knowing the given consequence that follows with their choice...we don't have to suffer the whining that would normally follow.
Instead, we just remind them of THEIR choice.

It's pretty hard to argue with Mom or Dad when it was them that made the choice.

The best to you & yours!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

I sounds like you have given her the choice between nutrition and fun snacks. What child would opt for chicken and broccoli rather than graham crackers or pretzels? If she is getting healthy snacks, try to include one of those at meal time and slowly wean her off of snacks except maybe the long stretch between lunch and dinner. If she is truly hungry between meals and you feel bad about letting her feel hungry, warm up that plate of mashed potatoes and steak she wouldn't touch at dinner. If it is a matter of preference on her part, she will soon learn to appreciate meal time if you cut out the snack options.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

Hello Christina,

My first question to you would be what is she snacking on? If she is "grazing" on fruits and veggies I wouldn't worry about mealtimes. But if she is snacking on goldfish, snackmix, gummy type fruit snacks, or anything with sugar and empty calories I would just not allow snacking. I would schedule a snack time between meals, sitting at the table with something healthy, not just a fly by and grab something everytime she is in the kitchen. I don't feel like eating at mealtimes either if I am not hungry due to too much snacking.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tucson on

I know someone who still eats like that but she eats at mealtimes - she just extends the length of the meal - and she is over 40 now. She is out of shape because she doesn't exercise, but she isn't overweight the way you would expect someone who eats constantly while they are awake would be, but she is vegan if that has any correlation. As for your daughter, if she were mine, I would not let her have access to the food she snacks on all day. Then she will be hungry at meal times and eat what you serve. Talk to her and explain what you are doing and why. If this change causes a problem with her behavior (ie: blood sugar drops, mood swings, etc.) you may just have to realize that it is the way her metabolism works and she may need to eat more often than you serve meals. Make sure she eats healthy foods and not just empty calories between meals.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

dont buy snacks. if she wont eat during meal times, then let her go hungry. she wont die. after a few missed meals she will eat her scheduled meals. if there are no snacks available then she will have to eat what you cook.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Las Cruces on

My first advice would be don't let food be a battle. It's a power struggle you'll never win, and if it feels like you do, you'll probably regret it. That said, remember kids' stomachs are smaller and metabolism faster, so they need those snacks through out the day... but - keep it healthy. Keep only healthy snacks available. As a 6 year old, your daughter is old enough to learn the basics of nutrition and help you plan and prepare meals. If she's involved in planning, shopping, (or better yet, growing) and cooking, she's more likely to look forward to eating at mealtime.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Tucson on

Allow it ! She IS eating :-) Some say that eating 4 small "snacking meals" a day is better for you than the 3 "reg." meals people eat, anyway. Kids eat when they are hungry, period. I used to keep foods in small bowls in the fridge for them to eat or heat up (yes, teaching a kid to use a microwave is easy and important! ) and bananas on the counter where they could reach ect... have carrots and celery (you know the things she likes!) already cut and in baggies for her. Just relax and be happy knowing you don't have to make big meals for the two of you :-) I used to love when it was just me and my ONE child and I didn't have to cook for 2-4 hours a day :-) Enjoy!!



answers from Phoenix on

Hi Christina,

Well, you either cut back on the snacks or you cut them out completely like I have had to do with my son. In fact, if my son had it his way he would thrive on snacks all day and never eat a meal with us!!

Just remember, "Your the Mom", you decide- "What", "Where", and "When" with Your Child. You have to be in control and let them know that and respect that.

Now, if you have lost her respect or never had it to begin with. You have some work ahead of you. Really, in order to get your child to do anything they MUST have RESPECT for you!!

Also, a child should be able to eat a meal within 30 minutes. My son especially will try and drag that on and want to full around or pick. We have said that if the meal is not done within a reasonable amount of time that we will then give it to them for the next meal but absolutely NO Snacks in between if the meal was not eaten. I hope you understand that the "Norm" is usually 2 healthy snacks in between 3 normal meals of B/L/ & Dinner. That is usually what the Pediatricians and Nutriionists recommend.

What will eventually happpen (with just eating unhealthy snacks) or possibly already has is that bad eating habits are established and she could eventually become over weight at a young age.

I was told a story not long ago from an Aunt of mine when I was sharing about my son and his issues with wanting to eat snacks all the time. She said she has a friend who's child refused to eat a meal when everyone else would have the normal B/L/Dinner meals. But she said that junk snacks were always accepted. Anyway, this apparently went on for awhile and she finally took her to the Doctor. The Doctor told her that her child was thriving and definitely not starving. In fact, gaining weight! He said that you could survive on junk food but it eventually catches up with you and not in good ways. Obviously, he told her that she had to re-gain back her control and deal with it.

My Aunt told her if you hardly ever see her eat anything then she's obviously sneaking around and doing it! (My son tries to do that too!). So eventually, she went to her room and to her surprise she found cookies, candy, chips, etc. under her bed, in her closet, everywhere that was not visible when you first walk in. It was really sad! But it was a rude awakening for this Mom and a reality check.

She got the "Snap Out of it" slap as my Aunt put it and became the Mom and got control. All snacks were taken away and miraculously the little girl started eating again. They eventually get hungry enough to appreciate and enjoy what you give them. Especially if you can make sure and find out what some of her favorite meals use to be. But absolutely no snacks until she gets she needs to eat her B/L/D first and when she does earn a snack make it a healthy one!!

Hopefully this helps and you are not offended but rather enlightened.

Happy New Year!




answers from Phoenix on

I would lock up or hide the snacky stuff. He will eat meals when he is hungry from not snacking all day.



answers from Flagstaff on

my kids aren't 'allowed' to have snacks unless they eat their meal.
i.e. if they eat breakfast, they can have a morning snack, if they eat lunch they can have a mid day snack. i don't allow snacks after dinner.
if you feel like your child eats a snack and isn't hungry at meal time, they will be hungry for a snack later, which is too bad for them because they don't get one because they didn't eat their meal.



answers from Phoenix on

It is hard, but you HAVE to be the boss. You have to hide all the snacks and dont buy any more. My 6yo has learned that he *has* to eat all of his dinner, if he wants dessert/snack before bed. I do allow a snack in the afternoon (1-2 hours before dinner, if it is too close to dinner, then I'm sorry, no eating - if he is "gonna die" of hunger, then he can have maybe a 1/4 measuring cup of frozen peas or corn that I am cooking for dinner, or some of the raw carrots or broccoli I am chopping to cook into dinner. But NO SNACKS! Because then he will not be hungry enough to eat. And of course, he will hold out for bedtime snack. This is why we say NO MORE. You eat ALL of your dinner (we do not give him more than he can eat) THEN you can have dessert/snack before bed. He is good about eating his meals now. (We now are working on eating his bedtime snack faster so he gets to bed on time)

How you do this: Sit down with her and explain that she needs to eat good foods that help her grow, be smart and healthy. And that the new rule is that she has to eat all of her breakfast if she wants morning snack. And she has to eat lunch (my son still only eats half a sandwich - he has to eat all of it though) if she wants afternoon snack. You/I have to remember to give a snack (healthy, not junk food - like yogurt, crackers, apple, toast, whatever you are comfortable for snack food) in the mid-afternoon, like right after school, around 3-4 pm (1-2 hours before dinner) so that the kid is not "starving" and eating while you are making dinner. Then all of her dinner before dessert.

You have to be strict and yes, I feel so mean, but I am the parent and I know what is the best food for my child to eat. I do let him have candy or cookies, after lunch or a healthy snack. I teach him he has to have a balance of foods in his tummy. If he has nothing but oranges or cherries in his tummy, it is probably going to cause some pain. If he has nothing but bread in his tummy, his body wont grow right. etc.

Also, after school my son will come home starving and eating what I put in his lunchbox (I still dont know what he actually eats at school lunch time because he is eating it when I drive him home) and will eat and eat, and want more and more. Finally I say you have had ENOUGH. (lunch plus snack plus another snack or treat... all between 3:30-4:30, he's going to be too full to eat dinner at 5-6pm!)

My son is a good eater when it comes to variety of foods - just doesnt eat a lot of it. He will still taste foods with his eyes - he'll look at something new and say "YUCK. I dont like that" and my rule for this is he has to take 3 bites, first to see what it is, 2nd to taste, 3rd to decide if he likes it or not. 3 bites is what I expect of him to eat. And often he'll decide it wasn't so bad after all. He still has to eat a reasonable amount of dinner (ie, 6 bites of each food from dinner) if he wants anything after dinner.

Be patient and FIRM. It will take a while, but keep repeating the rule. It is HER choice to eat meals and get snacks, or go without. My son is very very skinny and little for his age, so it was hard for me at first to ever say no, when he wanted to eat. but I realized he needs his meals more than he needs snacks, and not snacking means he's eating meals, so it is better this way.

It will take a few weeks, maybe a few months, but she will begin to be a good eater, if you stay consistent. Dont let her wear you down, dont think with your emotions, just repeat like a broken record - eat your meal, you can have snacks. You didn't eat (lunch/dinner), so no snack foods now.
You can tell her You weren't hungry for dinner, you can't be hungry for a snack. Oh, you're hungry now, fine, eat your dinner (warm it up -- but I do not save it for the next day because *I* wouldn't like to eat this myself. start fresh with a new meal, but only at the next meal's time.) 6 year olds are smart! You are the mom and have to be smarter and think without emotions and let her get at you that way. my son is good at that. and I have a husband to back me up, so I know it's tough for you. BE CONSISTENT. And it'll be HARD but then become easier.



answers from Flagstaff on

I have a daughter that did that. She is very slender @ 16 and continues to snack. If you think about it as long as the snacking is healthy and not candy and empty calorie foods, it is ok. The consistant snacking keeps the metabolism up. When dieting we are told to eat 6 small meals in a day, well as a child they are burning energy all day. With my kids I made smaller portions at night and then they were not rewarded with a treat if they did not eat their dinner. If they were hungry after dinner then they could finish thier dinner. I came from the clean plate generation and do not advise that the child eats everything that is in front of them. Smaller portions and more often. Hope this helps.



answers from Phoenix on

YOU NEED TO STOP THE SNACKING!!! stop buying the snack foods!! If you do not have them, she will not eat them!!

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