9 to 12 Years: Feeding Your Late School-age Child

Your school-age child is full of contradictions. She wants to master all things - including eating, but she is still a child, and is entitled to be free from worry about eating, moving, and weight. She seems independent, but she continues to need the structure and support of regular family meals and structured snacks. If she has good food acceptance skills, she can contribute ideas to family meal planning. That is, she comes to meals readily, is polite and pleasant there, picks and chooses from the food that is available, says yes please and no thank you and leaves without making a fuss. 

Continue to follow a division of responsibility.

If you do your jobs with feeding, your child will do hers with eating.

  • Arrange for your child to have 3 family-friendly meals a day at set times.
  • Let her eat her way-fast or slowly, much or little, some of everything or 1 or 2 foods.
  • Let her eat in any order, even if she eats dessert first.
  • Let her have more of any food, even if she hasn't cleaned her plate.
  • Say no to between-times food and beverage grazing-except for water.

Exert your authority on after-school snacking. 

  • Make rules, then expect her to go by the rules. The rules are about structure. 
  • Snack right after school and at the table. No munching along with homework or in front of the TV.
  • Teach her simple snack-planning: include 2 or 3 foods;.choose foods that give protein, fat and carbohydrate 
  • After she learns to go by the snacking rules, let her choose her own snack, even if it is high in fat or high in sugar.

For more about feeding your school-age child (and for research backing up this advice), see "Optimize feeding Your School-age Child" in Ellyn Satter's Your Child's Weight: Helping Without Harming, .

See also: Division of Responsibility in Feeding and Division of Responsibility in Activity

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©2016 by Ellyn Satter published at www.EllynSatterInstitute.org. You may reproduce this article if you don't charge for it or change it in any way and if you do include the for more about and copyright statements.