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The Psychology Needed to Feed Children Well

Little baby feeding with a spoon

Feeding children is not an easy task. Mealtimes can be stressful from dealing with picky eaters, concerns about a child’s weight (too little or too much) and other stresses. But the reality is that mealtimes are critical to a child’s development and total well being. Using mealtimes as a base camp for refueling your family with nutrition and love could be the most powerful tool you have in raising a happy, healthy child.

Perhaps you, like many parents out there, have already been trying to help your child lose or gain weight, or just to eat healthier, but it hasn’t been working, and instead, it’s adding more stress to your lives—and as a result, your relationship with your child is possibly suffering.

After 13 years at ground zero treating the toughest cases of childhood obesity (with over an 80% success rate for the past two years), I can tell you that diets don’t work and can in fact be harmful. Whether the child is obese, too thin, a picky eater or simply won’t eat his/her vegetables, using good psychology at the dinner table is a vital parenting tool that nobody talks about. In fact, I co-authored Fit Kids Revolution with Jon Gabriel to help change the world’s inaccurate, detrimental view toward obesity, diets, and the psychology of feeding children.

The epidemic of childhood obesity is a symptom of a changed world: greater technology, more processed food sources, sedentary behaviors, marketing ploys, sleep deprivation, stress, and the de-emphasis of the family unit—we are all just a little caught up in it. It is a wake up call for all of us to slow down and enjoy a family meal, which may be your most lucrative investment into your children’s long-term health.

It is my passion to help parents; medical providers and caregivers truly understand how to feed children well and to pass on practical pearls to make mealtimes healthy and enjoyable. I will be speaking tomorrow evening at Pretend City’s Children’s Museum from 6-8:30pm. Please join me as I offer practical tips in compassionate feeding that affect children of all ages and sizes.

Dr. Patricia Riba’s workshop at the Pretend City Symposium is free and registration is required. Childcare is also available for $10. Register here:

Dr. Patricia Ronald Riba, MD, a board certified pediatrician who specializes in childhood obesity in Orange County, CA. She is the founder and Medical Director for Serving Kids Hope (formerly Dr. Riba’s Health Club), a community-based organization designed to prevent and treat nutrition-related health problems in children aged 0-18 years and their families. Dr. Patricia is also co-author of Fit Kids Revolution, a parenting guide book that teaches parents about feeding children and preventing obesity in a realistic and safe way.

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One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for this wonderful article. We had a great turn out!

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