Young children go through a stage when they become hard to feed. During this phase, parents find it difficult to give their picky eaters proper nourishment. They either refuse food, or resent the ones they’re not familiar with. Most of the time, they end up playing with their food instead of finishing it.

Here are some tips on how to get your child’s appetite back:

1. Follow a schedule. Kids easily go in harmony with routine. Make sure he gets his meals and snacks at the same time each day. This practice leaves him anticipating for food at the right time of day.

2. Make mealtime fun and interesting. Encourage your kid to eat by giving him his own spoon and bowl. Let him take part in cooking and preparation. Take a doll or stuffed toy to the table and make them take turns “eating”. Arrange his food to make it look like a face, or cut them up into different shapes. Sing some made-up songs about proper eating. Find out what works, the more creative, the better.

3. Eat together. Sit yourselves together during meal times. Make it known that eating is important and pleasant at the same time. Allowing your kid to go down his high chair will get you running after him with a spoon. Be consistent and stay in your seat as well.

4. Mix up the menu. If you’re serving bread or cereal for breakfast, cook rice at lunch, then have pasta or soup by dinner. This way, your child will have an opportunity to try new dishes, instead of just eating his favorites all the time. Even us adults need some variety from time to time, don’t we?

5. Stop pushing the plate. If he doesn’t want to eat, maybe he’s really not hungry. Forcing your child to eat will only get you both frustrated. It’s okay if your little one doesn’t like what’s on the table. Never ever cook a different dish specifically for him. Stick with the menu. Unless you cooked a totally foreign dish, you can tell him that there are no other choices. Save yourselves the stress and just keep his food accessible so he can come back to it when he gets hungry.

6. Cut down on snacks. Almost all snacks are packed with appetite suppressants. Ideally, snacks must not be offered immediately prior to a meal. This usually includes juice and milk. However, depending on your child’s weight gain and growth progress, it is up to you to decide whether you should keep the milk coming or not.

This picky eating habit will pass as your child matures. Generally, as long as his weight gain is still on the chart average, there really is nothing to worry about. If you are, however, concerned about your child’s eating habits or you think he is developing an eating disorder, it’s always good to consult with your child’s doctor.