Refusal to eat: A child may simply not feel hungry. Respect the wisdom of a child’s own body; a skipped meal will not hurt a healthy child. Remove the food without fuss after a reasonable length of time. Involve the child in food shopping, preparation, and serving.
Food jags: Children sometimes get hooked on one food and want it for all meals and snacks. This isn’t unusual for children or adults and typically doesn’t last long if you don’t make an issue out of it. You may need to negotiate with a child when and how much of that food is appropriate.
Dislike of new foods: A child may not like the color, smell, texture of the food. Children, like adults, will have a few dislikes. When treated casually, a child will probably learn to like it later on. Children have very sensitive taste buds. Try serving/cooking the food differently, ex. raw instead of boiled.
Dawdling or playing with food: A child may simply be not hungry or tired. Be sure the child knows how to use the utensils. If possible, begin feeding the child a few minutes before the rest of the children. Take the time to eat slowly with the child. Children learn by touching so give them the time and opportunity to explore food.
Overeating: Reduce portion sizes. Don’t force a child to take “just one more bite” or “clean his plate”. Prepare foods without adding extra fat or sugar. Avoid high-fat sauces, breading, or frying foods. Encourage more physical activity. Use a few kind words, a hug, or a toy as rewards and comforters rather than food.