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Don't battle, just chill

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'Although nothing is more likely to cause parental anxiety than worrying about whether or not your little one is thriving, very few children develop a serious eating problem,' says Dr Gill Harris, Consultant Clinical Psychologist at the Birmingham Children's Hospital. 'If he has the energy to run around and he looks fine, then it indicates that he's getting enough nourishment.' If you're genuinely worried, talk to your GP or health visitor.

But don't overlook the idea that we may have unrealistic expectations of how much our children need. Dr Harris notes that, as adults, we're used to three regular meals a day. For younger children, however, five or six smaller meals may be more appropriate, and it's better to offer second helpings rather than overfill their plates.

Also, ensure milk or juice drinks aren't acting as meal replacements, don't forget milk is more like a food than a drink. We equate food with love, and it's because we love our children that we want to give them the best nourishment we can.

For some of us it's a battle from birth. For others, it comes later. But experts are unanimous: don't battle, chill. If you have a child who happily eats ready-made food, give yourself a break occasionally and think of it as the equivalent of a Friday-night takeaway.

Continued below...


And if all that stands between your toddler and food is a dollop of ketchup, well, that's not a problem, that's a solution.

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