How to Get a Child Eat When They Refuse?

Kiran Verma

Written by Kiran Verma

Can you relate to the frustration and irritation you feel when you have to run behind your kid to make him eat food?

Of course, every parent can relate to the same.

Also, it makes every mother wondering – how to get a child to eat when they refuse? 

Well, that’s the question every mother asks once in a while, right?

And this problem can increase with time when your baby will start turning up their nose or face when they see something non-tasty. Just like me, when my mother serves Indian squash (Tinda). I guess that’s the story of every house, but I wouldn’t make it your kid’s habit.

Because a healthy diet is equivalent to a healthy kid, which is why I have come up with an answer to the most asked question – how to get a child to eat when they refuse?

So, here let’s start with how to make your kid eat food when your child refuses to eat anything. Moreover you can also check out some tips and ideas to make eating fun.

How to Get a Child Eat When They Refuse?

1. Here is your reward!

Rewards are a great way to make your kid eat a proper meal, especially if they know they are gonna get ice cream at the end of the dinner. However, don’t forget that it can backfire on you because your kid will expect a reward after every meal, so, I would suggest you ignore giving them ice-creams or other sweet things to eat rather than do something fun.

Well, if I have to mention, you can get some cute crazy stickers which your kid can collect for having a proper meal.

2. Hey! You have done a great job

Who wouldn’t like to be praised?

I know, I would, and when it comes to kids, they do appreciate it when they get compliments, especially from their parents. So, a compliment like, “that’s like a good boy/girl,” can make things seamless for you.

Moreover, you can also praise your kid for eating with etiquettes, then if they do something bad while eating, you can teach them to do it properly, for instance, holding the spoon properly.

3. A little liberty can do the trick

I don’t know, but maybe things which we are not supposed to do attract us the most – probably, the same is applicable to the kid. So, when you restrict your kid from eating (most probably sweets) something which they should, it makes them want it more.

Once such a fine example is – when you restrict your kid from having chocolates, milkshakes, ice-creams and all – they tend to crave more of these. And would end up with teeth-related issues, so, if that’s the case, don’t forget to brush kids’ teeth appropriately

Also Read: 11 Best Yoga for Kids (First Step Towards Healthy Life)

4. Make eating fun

Make eating fun

Eating and fun sounds like an odd combination, isn’t it?

However, it’s possible. All you need is a little creativity.

All I’m saying is that – you can make smileys, use colorful veggies, and more to make eating fun. Apart from that, you can try playing with food, not throwing/ wasting the food. 

5. Family Time

Eating with family can make your kid eat appropriately, especially if everyone is eating together. Moreover, it will allow your kid to know the family members, like his grandparents, uncles, aunties, and more.

Also, it could allow your kid to try different food as everyone would be having it, including your kids’ siblings. Avoid using your mobiles and enjoy a healthy meal with your family in peace.

6.  Don’t Pressurize Your Kid to Eat

Pressurizing a kid to eat that spinach your kid hates will only make him stubborn. So, I would say that pressurizing kids will only make things worse, instead, try taking baby steps. For instance, start with a couple of spoonfuls of spinach, rather than finishing the whole bowl.

7. Allow Your Kid to Take Decision

Here is one more mantra to solve your issue – how to get a child to eat when they refuse?

So, here to make your kid eat everything, a child refuses to eat anything is to let him decide what to eat, and probably when to eat.

It is simple psychology, just like adults kids also prefer doing things their ways. So, maybe letting your child decide what he would like to eat for lunch and dinner could make a real difference, even if your 2-year baby not eating food.

8. Let Your Kid Eat Himself

If your 2-year old baby not eating food or a 3-year-old not eating for a week – well it seems like an issue to me, because skipping meals, especially for a week needs to be taken care of.

And maybe letting your kid eat himself could solve the issue, because it could be something new for your kid. However, of course, if required you can jump in to help your kid and would always be around when your kid is eating food himself to prevent choking and any other issue which could occur.

9. No TV/ Mobile Phones/ Video Games, and Other Distractions

Looking for – how to get a child to eat when they refuse? 

Well, being surrounded by distractions like TV, mobile phones, video games and more could distract your kid’s attention to those rather than eating. And your kid’s plate will be half-eaten, during mealtime, so, sit in a room where your kid can not reach them.

10. Different Food – Could Result in Better Choice

Different Food - Could Result in Better Choice

Sometimes offering different food, definitely healthy food could make your kid choose what he desires to eat. So, even if your 2-year baby not eating food or the child refuses to eat anything, he will probably like at least one dish which you will make.

11. A Well-Established Routine Can Work

We all like to have a proper schedule for everything right?

Just like that, kids like it when things are well-established, though it should not be strictly scheduled. So, right from the start, maintain a proper routine for eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

12. Set Food Portions to Eat

Here is a simple rule which you can follow –

  • Include all the food which provides nutrients to kids, like grains, proteins, veggies, and fruits.
  • Now, to establish a healthy habit to eat everything, you can start by giving one spoonful of food to your kid every day, especially something your kid doesn’t like along with the food he’s eating, then increase it with time.
  • Also, your kid’s diet must also include proper drinks, like juice.

Eating in portions can help your kid follow a healthy eating pattern and also will allow your kid to taste something new, including the food he does not like.


Here is to make your stubborn kid eat a healthy and proper meal, without making faces while eating food. So no more searching – how to get a child to eat when they refuse or trying to find a solution if the child refuses to eat anything. 

However, if you still have any doubts, ping us anytime and get the solution to the best of my knowledge and experience.  

Also, please let us know which of my mentioned tricks worked on your kid!!

Leave a Comment