Hungry child or bored child

Is your child really hungry or just bored?

Children often like to eat snacks or food even if they are not hungry. Children demand food when they cannot handle their feelings and emotions. If your child is demanding food often and says ‘I am hungryeven after getting stomach full meal, and through out the day tend to eat something, then you should dig deep to understand what is going on.

After eating good quantity of meals and snacks, if your child still claims to be hungry, it could be for other reasons. Understand what the reason is before feeding the child. Ask questions –

Are you

  • bored
  • not feeling alright
  • stressed out
  • Sad
  • Angry
  • Insecure
  • Afraid
  • Unhappy

Do you

  • want to play
  • feel fatigue
  • feel happy
  • feel not safe
  • feel resentment

Listen to your child’s answer. If the answer you receive is yes for any of the above questions, then there is something going on emotionally in your child’s mind

Also, look at your actions. Do you give your child snacks often to keep them quite or to control tantrums? Or are you rewarding child with food that could lead obesity? Do you complain about your child with your partner often? Are you very critical on your child’s behavior? – If answer is yes for any of the questions then your child feeling hungry all the time is because of any of these reasons.

How to help child?

First you need to understand what that is causing issues and making your child demanding for food or all the time hungry. Talk to your child about hunger and fullness. Ask, out of 1 to 10 what is her hunger rate – 10 being high, 1 being low. It might turn out kid may not be hungry at all. Understand the mental status so that you can help child to solve any issues she might have. Sometimes sitting at home, like now during pandemic lockdown, can be reason for the boredom. Once you know the reason for “hunger” then you will be able to address it.

If your child is happy, it is a good sign. However, child cannot sit and eat because emotionally she is happy. Whatever the reason is, start assigning small works so that instead of eating, children can focus on fun tasks.

  • Taking care of pet
  • Play games
  • Painting
  • Dancing
  • Karaoke
  • Garden work
  • Preparing a kite and flying kite
  • Going for nature walk
  • Helping in car wash
  • Story writing and story telling

When child growth spurts, they often feel hungry due to metabolic activities. Instead of giving candy, chocolate and empty calorie foods, give them healthy snacks including fruits. Keep healthy snacks at home. This will help them to maintain the weight and overcome obesity. Check whether the food you are giving child contains necessary nutrients and is satisfying. Healthy food choice helps stomach to feel full. Food made of refined oil or flour, containing sugar will not fulfill their needs.

It is also possible that your child is thirsty and mistaken it for hunger. Children often forget to drink water especially when they are engrossed in playing. If you are sure that your child already ate stomach full, and it is not time for food then offer a glass of water or milk. Keep a designated water bottle and refill it throughout the day.

Try these tips and see whether your child’s obsession for food or sudden hunger goes away.  Uncontrollable eating leads to obesity and illness in children. Understanding child’s mind and emotions plays big part in reducing obesity.

Image credit: Marcos Paulo Prado on Unsplash (Free for commercial use)

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: May 21, 2020

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