My 5-year-old doesn’t want to eat breakfast early in the morning. What can I do?

My 5-year-old doesn’t want to eat breakfast early in the morning. What can I do?

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A lot of preschool age and
school age children are picky. They don’t want to eat what you cook, or
they just may not want to eat a certain meal, and this is not uncommon behavior. But you wanted to know specifically
what you can do for your 5-year-old who doesn’t like to eat breakfast. Our job as parents is to offer healthy options
for each meal and for snacks each day, and our child’s job is to determine what and how
much they’re going to eat off of their plate. Now you said that your 5-year-old
specifically will eat cereal for breakfast and this is not a bad option. If he’ll eat cereal, then that’s totally
fine, especially if he’s eating it with milk. And milk has a lot of good nutritional
value and so that’s a plus. And when you go to the store, you can involve
him in the decision-making process for what cereal you’re going to bring home. Pick 3 off the shelf that you’re okay
with him eating and then let him choose from the 3, so that it’s a win/win. You’re controlling what he’s eating and he gets
to choose and feel a sense of independence. That’s another thing to keep in mind, especially
with preschool age and school age children is they’re finding their newly-found sense
of independence, and the more decisions that they can make, the better
they’re going to feel. And the last thing you want to do is make
meal time a fight, because often, that will cause a child to have negative feelings
about food, and that can cause problems down the road with eating habits. It may also make a child less likely to try
something that they would have tried otherwise. Keep in mind that some children need 10 to 15
introductions before they’ll actually try a food. So there are some things that you can do to make
it fun and involve him in the decision-making process. When you go to the grocery store, not only
can you offer options for cereal, but you can also walk him through the produce section
and talk about the rainbow and the different colors of fruits and vegetables, and ask him
to choose out a few fruits that match certain colors of the rainbow, and choose ones that
he’d like to take home and eat for breakfast. You can also buy wheat bread and cut it
into fun shapes for breakfast. Maybe that would entice him a little bit. And sometimes you can present it in a fun
way, like some kids respond well to celery, and peanut butter, and raisins
sold as ants on a log. So there’s some things that you can do. You can also make smoothies and add in yogurt
and milk with fruit, and so your child is actually getting great nutrition,
and you can call it a shake. Maybe that’s something he would
enjoy for breakfast. Ultimately, if he’s eating well for lunch
and dinner, and he’s eating snacks after he gets home from school, and overall, he’s
happy, and healthy, and weighs the appropriate amount as determined by the pediatrician,
and is meeting developmental milestones, then those are all wins. If you have more specific concerns or questions
about him, don’t hesitate to talk with your pediatrician who can offer you tailored
information and advice. If you have any more questions in the future
for me, feel free to ask them on our Intermountain Moms Facebook and Instagram pages, and recommend
us to your friends and family too.

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