DD1 turns 6 next week. She's on the small side of average for height and weight (DH and I are both small, me especially so) and is generally healthy and energetic. We eat a relatively healthy mostly whole food based diet, but it's far from perfect. We don't eat red meat. She's only given water to drink or sometimes herbal tea (juice maybe once a month at a party, cow's milk never), as has been the case her whole life. I fix both of the kids a full cup of water in the mornings that comes with us anywhere we go and refill as needed all day. She gets a couple of snacks a day - apple and peanut butter, smoothie popsiciles (almond milk, yogurt, and various fruits and greens), crackers and cheese, yogurt and fruit, carrots and hummus, sliced baked tofu, nori, turkey rolls, hard boiled egg, etc. I'd say she's getting a snack or meal about every 2 hours.
We eat meals (and often snacks) as a family. DH is with us for dinner and all weekend meals, but not weekday breakfast/lunch/snacks. We aren't watching TV (we're essentially TV free), we sit in regular spots at our kitchen table, and generally visit as a family while we eat. Lately we've been having food issues with her. When we sit down for a meal, she'll very very quickly eat what she's been served (sometimes she'll make faces about a particular food and refuse to eat it). She'll proclaim "I was the first one to finish." We've never encouraged this, and she is NOT anxious to leave the table at all. Then she starts asking for more, and then more, and so on. There is never a lack of food. She's never gone hungry. We added in white meats when she was 4 (before that we did only seafood for meat), but there haven't been any major dietary changes since then. She hasn't been great about drinking water in the last year, and has had issues with constipation (an issue DH has always struggled with and I never have). I find it hard to believe she's still hungry after eating as much as DH or me. Periodically she'll say her stomach hurts after dinner and say she thinks it's because she ate too much. This is generally after we've declined her last request for more food. She'll also sometimes announce that she's hungry within 30-60 minutes of finishing a meal or snack, which often feels like a request for attention (or perhaps sweets) more than food.
But, I hate refusing her food. It feels so arbitrary, and I want to trust her to follow her body's cues, not enforce some external limit. She's generally asking for more healthy foods, not ice cream (which she does get maybe once a week). She does tend to prefer grains and dairy, but she also happily eats salad, fruit, steamed veggies, etc and asks for more. What if this is a growth spurt? I feel like she's doing a "fill my bucket" sort of I need your attention thing, eating as quickly as she can and asking us for more and more and more. If I/we decline to fix her seconds (or thirds or whatever), she remains at the table and gets increasingly obnoxious. Not asking for food, just being an antsy kid. I sometimes send her away from the table, but then she plays sort of wildly and right by us and distracts DD2 who is still eating. I do sometimes send her away - up to her room to put on pjs or into the study to work on something, but she really doesn't want to be alone, and I want her to participate in our family meal times. I've been encouraging her to eat more slowly, and drink more water, but I'm really at a loss here.
SAHM to DD1 8/06 , DD2 8/09 , and DD3 9/12 married to 6/99. We , , , , and lots of and .
growth spurt mama. growth spurt. even my almost 10 year old gets them.
she eats and eats and eats. double bfast, lunch and dinner. eating CONSTANTLY. and then boom she shoots up - suddenly her roundness is gone and overnight her dresses turn into tops.
the timing is key. right near her bday. i've noticed this since she was 4.
i would NOT refuse her food. instead i'd offer more nutritious 'empty' fillers like simple salad with simple dressings. in fact if she is up for it, she could help you make the dressing.
if she is complaining of stomach ache i would make sure she is drinking enough water. i think because their spurts are for a short while they get their full signs mixed up or really they dont feel full till its too late.
but all you are describing is so normal in our house. its absolutely amazing how much they can pack down isnt it?!!!
i tell you though when they are done with growth spurts its a shock to see the servicing go down to normal.
Since this isn't affecting her weight and she is eating healthy, I wouldn't worry about it. It takes a while for our brain to get the message that our stomach is full, so she may be full and just not realize it and won't more. Encourage her to drink some water and then wait about 10 mins and if she is still hungry, then she can have more. My oldes and youngest both eat often but they just metabolize the food a lot faster than I or my middle son does.
Cassie, mom to Alex(7), Aidan(5), Andrew(4)
yes. dd has done it for about two months, one month. she has stopped right around her birthday, a little early or a little bit later.
this year she did it for a month and stopped a month early.
Well, I'll say it's possibly attention-seeking behavior, but I wouldn't refuse food for her. I think you could make some healthy snacks (fruit, cut-up veggies) easily accessible for her and then instead of asking for your attention by asking for you to "fix her seconds" she can get her own food. At the same time you can engage her in conversation about her day, etc., so that you are filling her attention bucket w/o food and separating the two. If she wants attention she can engage with you and if she wants food she can get it herself and not engage with you. I think 6 is plenty old enough for her to get her own easy snacks like pre-washed fruit and veggies. Grapes are super easy and in season now. Pre-cut veggies, like carrot sticks, are super easy, too. It sounds like she has a very healthy diet and as long as the snacks she has accessible are healthy and not cookies and candy I think I'd give her that autonomy and encourage her to listen to her body. You might distract her for a few minutes and see if the initial urge passes, but then don't make it a power struggle and do have the healthy food accessible and I think that's all you need to do. If this is particularly about meal-time food, maybe start serving family style with the serving dishes on the table. Then she can get her own seconds. She may get too much at first, but encourage small amounts to start with reminding her that she can always get more if she really is still hungry.
"All you fascists are bound to lose" — Woody Guthrie
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