View Full Version : what to do when a child doesn't eat?

14-09-2011, 10:25 AM
hi all!

I provide 2 snacks and a main meal as part of my service and this equates to me allowing £1.50 per child per day for this. I pride myself on poviding healthy meals cooked from scratch. I let parents know the day before what the main meal will be so that if they know their child will hate it they can give me good warning and provide something for them.

However, I have 2 mindees that keep refusing to eat what i make. What do i do here? The rule in my house is that you don't et a pudding unless you eat your main meal or at least hve a good go at eating it and I do this so that it is consistent for my daughter who has grown up with this rule.

If a child refuses the main meal I don't want to get in the situation where I am cooking them something else and therefore going over the £1.50 allowance. I also don't want to spend all my time in the kitchen cooking different meals for different people.

I have been letting them leave it on the understanding there is nothing else to eat til snack time but my husband thinks this is cruel!

Anyone got any useful advice here, its starting to stress me out :panic:

14-09-2011, 10:30 AM
I have the same policy here. I usually ask the Mum's if the children like it and if they do, they have to eat at least half before they get pudding or any snacks in the afternoon. If the children try but really dont like I provide a cold healthy alternative.

I dont think it is cruel at all.

Good luck

14-09-2011, 10:40 AM
HI :),
I don't think its cruel if the child does like the food but is refusing to eat it. Presumably the parent would have provided an alternative if the child did not like the planned meal.

I think if it was me and a child was consistently refusing food I would ask parents to provide a packed lunch instead.

I would make sure you are still providing for their needs by asking parents to provide meal and offering extra fruit (which you know they do like), but not something they would regard as a 'treat', so that they have had something in the meantime, but not been rewarded for refusing a nutritious meal. Obviously still offer usual drinks and snacks etc

I don't charge separately for meals/snacks, its included if I provide them and my hourly rate was decided on with this in mind, but the situation you describe would be grounds for me not providing them. Do you think maybe parents are just wanting their money's worth?

I hate to waste food and have little patience for mealtime battles.

Eat it or don't eat it I reckon. Just make sure parents are informed and you offer nutritious food/drinks you have been informed child likes in partnership with parent so you are covered :thumbsup: (where child refuses so definitely and continuously I think you will have to insist parent does provide for our own sanity as well as for child's well being).

Hope you work it out :)

best wishes,
Wendy :)

14-09-2011, 11:04 AM
I can't cope with fussy eaters!!! :laughing:

I now say to all new parents at the interviewing stage
"If dinners are not eaten then an alternative of bread and butter is offered. If a child is consistently not eating meals then I will be asking you to provide meals at home"

This makes is nice and clear from the very offset, I don't have to feel guilty because I've already explained and it removes all stress, sorted :D

Fortunately my new starter likes Sushi so don't think I am going to have a problem there :laughing:

14-09-2011, 11:21 AM
This is the reason l stopped providing meals of any kind for the children, all parents provide a lunch of either sandwiches or a cooked meal which l heat for the them, should they say they do not like it l can say to them that mummy would not have brought it for you if you didn't like it. I also do not get 'stressed' about children not eating any more, if they do not eat it in a reasonable time it is taken away and parents told.

14-09-2011, 11:26 AM
No fuss here. I cook they eat. If they dont then they eat at home.

I do not provide alternatives but I do a list of frequent meal choices at the beginning of each school year and the children tick wether they love it, like it or hate it and I tend to use those meals. No point in making food no-one is going to eat after all.

My new 15 month old doesn't eat much - if he doesn't eat lunch then I give him some fruit and then he has dinner with everyone else.

14-09-2011, 11:49 AM
Same here, I cook, they eat. If they choose not to eat I presume they are not hungry and clear food away. I stopped giving puddings a long time ago and do not provide an alternative if a child decides they are going to refuse the food they are given. (I do not cook food I know they don't like)

Far too many eating problems are caused by parents and carers pandering to children's' whims and fancies in my humble opinion.

14-09-2011, 12:07 PM

My mindee was a fussy eater when he started, but didn't really each much at home either. I tried for the first week and he refused, then I asked for the parents to provide for a week and he refused that. I just carried on providing one dinner and sometimes he eats it and sometimes he doesn't, I never make an alternative, if they don't eat it and totally refuse then they wait til snack time...I'm not a fussy eater and neither are my kids cause basically they eat what is put in front of them lol xx

14-09-2011, 12:43 PM
Whilst I don't agree with withholding dessert until the child has eaten what you consider to be enough of the main course, I would say you choose what food the child will eat, you choose when the child will eat it, you choose where the child will eat it, and the child chooses how much he/she will eat. Provide good food, good companionship, good surroundings and the child will take care of the rest...or not....as they choose.

14-09-2011, 01:12 PM
Ive had this today with a mindee who has refused to eat the sandwiches his mum sent him for lunch. My daughter and mindee's usually have a quick biscuit (malted milk) or a piece of fruit to walk to school with as a quick snack before we get home and have a cooked dinner - I've made it very clear to this mindee that there will be nothing now until dinner as if he was hungry he would have eaten his lunch.

My own kids do this - particularly my youngest boy and I got very worried about it and spoke to the HV who reassured me that no child would starve themselves and that he would eat when he was hungry. To set a timer for 20 - 30 minutes, give them a 5 minute warning before time is up and then take meal away at the allocated time. If eaten then pudding or a treat later, if not eaten then nothing. Its worked - he very rarely tries this now.


14-09-2011, 04:04 PM
Thanks everyone, you have really reassured me that I am doing the right thing and think I will write a separate food policy that covers my rules so parents can opt out of meals if they don't like it.

Was starting to think there is something wrong with my cooking! Had a little girl say to me today when she wouldn't eat her sausages "you haven't cooked them properly!!!!" haha!

mandy moo
15-09-2011, 10:47 AM
Thanks everyone, you have really reassured me that I am doing the right thing and think I will write a separate food policy that covers my rules so parents can opt out of meals if they don't like it.

Was starting to think there is something wrong with my cooking! Had a little girl say to me today when she wouldn't eat her sausages "you haven't cooked them properly!!!!" haha!

this made me smile, Ive been looking after an almost 5 year old for the last 2 weeks, they dont go straight though from 9am to 3pm when they start Reception class here, 1st week is till 12, 2nd week is till 1.15, 3rd week full time
Anyhow he came home yesterday saying he hadnt eaten his lunch (school lunch) and he was hungry, I him offered fruit, yoghurt, or toast, he settled for a peice of toast.
He brought it back a few minutes later saying 'we dont have burnt toast at home',
It was a lovley light golden colour, not burnt at all:eek:

15-09-2011, 11:01 AM
I'm having it with the 2 year olds at the moment. I only offer fruit as a dessert so if they don't eat their main meal then I offer them the fruit but nothing else until snack time. They always come and ask me within half an hour for something to eat and I say snack time is just before we go to school and offer them a drink. They are all coming full time in the next couple of weeks so I'm hoping the routine everyday will help them to choose to eat rather than be hungry

15-09-2011, 11:27 AM
I find they eat better if they don't have snack in the morning. (I've had some REALLY fussy ones) If we're not going out I don't do snack and give them an early lunch between 11.30 and 12.00pm and by then they're hungry so there is less fuss and they usually eat what is put in front of them. I started doing it when my own were small because they went to nursery in the afternoons so needed an early lunch and found it has worked ever since. If we go to toddler group I give them snack as early as possible and restrict the amount they have, they have lunch a bit later then but still tend not to eat as well.