It is true that parents always have their children’s best interests at heart. And this is especially true when it comes to nutrition. However, some common food mistakes parents make cannot be overlooked. This is never intentional, but rather happens due to a lack of the right knowledge. Mistakes also happen when you don’t consult doctors or nutritionists to create balanced meal plans for your child.

Moreover, if you are new to parenting, you might end up following suggestions from your friends and family members, even when they are not ideal. Remember that every child is unique and his or her needs are exclusive as well. So, what works for one, might not work for another. Hence, many common blunders occur when it comes to feeding a child.

We have rounded up a list of things which are probably a big NO when it comes to feeding children:

  • Edible rewards: It is true that rewarding your child for a chore done well is a great way to encourage him or her to become more responsible and caring. However, the reward shouldn’t be a junk food item. For instance, parents often reward kids with chocolates, colas or deep-fried snacks, if they do well on a test or help in the garden. However, this way, you might be adding harmful sugars, saturated fats, and excess salt to your child’s diet. Rather, try rewarding with a fruit! Or, why not help your child earn something that motivates them to stay physically or mentally active? How about a board game or a mini family outing?
  • Food bribes: Bribing children with food is a complete no. While rewards (healthy ones) can be a gesture of appreciation, bribes are terms and conditions that you set to get your child to eat what you want them to, without justifying the reason. Don’t forget that it’s only a momentary trick to ensure that your child eats his/her food. In the long run, bribes will not help your little one make wise food choices. Needless to say, it also teaches kids that bribes are a way to get a task done, which is unethical.
  • An empty, clean plate cannot be the finish line: The brain of a child usually signals the feeling of fullness, which the body manages to communicate with a little time lag. Due to this, your kid might eat more than what is needed, most often. So, allow your child to respond to his/her brain’s signals and obey them. Small, frequent meals are always a great way to ensure quality eating and enhanced metabolism.
  • Excessive screen time: Watching TV or a video on the phone simply distracts the child, and he doesn’t realise what he is eating and why. The focus should be on the plate instead. Sitting down with the family at the dining table is going to help your child make food choices that resonate with your traditions, family preferences, followed staples, and nutritional beliefs. They will be able to choose wisely in future this way. If you have the rule in place right from the start, screen time will be considered as a separate activity, instead of a parallel one.
  • Rules are okay for my child, not me: Children are amazing observers after all. So, set apt examples. It can include a whole host of positive eating habits such as eating on time, washing hands before and after meals, accepting all the different foods being prepared at home, not talking while eating, staying adequately hydrated, not spilling food, not wasting food, and so on. Even, how you portion your food or how you sit can be picked up by children before you realise! Every little mistake can add to your child’s undesirable habits.

Most parents nurture the misconception that children do not have the ability to judge between right and wrong. Childhood, in fact, comprises habit-forming years. Be it food or behaviour or academics or a hobby/activity, you are constantly fuelling a rapidly developing, active brain that will lay a foundation for the child’s future. So, hope this article will help you steer clear of common food mistakes parents make.