As a first time dad, I barely had a clue of how to take care of my son's weight. However, sometimes, not being aware is good. I was extra conscious and always paid attention to the doctor during our visits. This helped me a lot when I became a dad for the second time. Besides, this helped me share the basics with other parents when they were passing through the same phase in their lives.
Here's what I have learnt:
Children of the same age can have variations in their weight and height. It's normal. A growth chart shared by your pediatrician comes handy. It helps one confirm if the weight and other growth parameters are within the normal range and whether the child is developing proportionately. As long as your doctor does not raise an alarm, you need not worry.
Follow a routine; stick to a schedule for sleeping, eating, play time and screen time. Normally your child's body clock adjusts to the schedule in less than a week. Try not to give in when your child asks for some extra TV time or repeatedly demands fried food items.
When the schedule is set, it is the frequency of the portions that need to be adjusted as per your child's need. Your child needs to eat something, every couple of hours. You may increase the frequency (say every 2 hours) of meals but control the portions to maintain a healthy weight.
To me, 'snacks' was just another term for 'fried food'. You can always explore interesting ways to prepare a variety of snacks. You can include a variety of fruits, poha, besan ka cheela in the meals and remove excessive fried food from your child’s diet.
Unless your child is sick, the reason for their loss of appetite is related to their activity. If your child doesn't burn enough calories, they won't be hungry and this would impact their sleep pattern as well. Encourage an hour or two of physical activity depending on their age.
Having said that, if your child is still below or above the average weight as per the Growth Chart, it is always a good idea to keep a tab on their activities and reconsider their meal plan.