How to handle Preschool Children's Eating Problems

When a child reaches six months old, she/he can start  to eat solid food.  It is common to hear parents of preschool age children (3 years old & under) to complain that their children have different kinds of eating problems.


Common Eating Problems

Preschool children common eating problems include:  difficulty sitting still and eating quietly until finishing a meal, dropping food on the floor, picky eater, playing with the food, refusing to eat on their own, eating very slow, temper tantrums,  playing with toys, mobile phones etc while eating.

Common Reasons

  1. Parents/Caregivers have little knowledge about the characteristics of children at different ages, so that they may have unrealistic expectations on them:

    1. Preschool children’s attention span time is relatively short(usually less than 10 minutes), easy to be distracted. If the meal time is long, they feel bored and want to walk around. Also , preschool children of this age will be full of curiosity and like to explore different things by touching. It is difficult to make them sit still for a long time.

    2. Preschool children have food preferences, like adults. As long as a child has a balanced diet, willing to eat different types of food, parents/caregivers should not force them to eat the food they dislike.

    3. Normal preschool children’ s appetite may not be the same everyday.  Maybe today a child can eat half a bowl of rice, tomorrow he/she wants to eat one third bowl of rice only and feels full. No need to force a child to eat all the amount of food you provide as this may make the child feel that eating is unpleasant experience.

  2. Parents do not set up regular eating habit for their children.
    Some parents let the children eat whenever they want. This results in the children eating more snacks, and then they have no appetite to eat at dinner time. It is difficult for this kind of family to set up regular eating habits for their kids. Some parents/caregivers give the children toys or electronic products to play while eating, in  the hope that  the children will not walk around when eating. Some want the children to eat faster, so they feed the children to speed things up even though the child is capable of feeding themselves. These result in giving the children extra attentio and reinforce inappropriate eating behaviors.


How to prevent /solve eating problems of preschool children

  1. Prepare the children for the meal time.

    If the children enjoy playing games and activities, they will feel very disappointed if they need to stop playing immediately. The chance that they do not cooperate is high. To minimize both the parents/caregivers and the children’s frustration, we can prepare the child by saying, "Jason, play this game for one more time, then go, wash  hands and eat." Or " Maria, you can play three more minutes, then go to wash hands and have dinner." This helps the children to cooperate with us better.


  2. Let the children eat the amount they can eat.

    The amount of the food for the preschool children should be based on how much they can eat, NOT how much the parents/caregiver wants them to eat. Tell the children that if the food is not enough, they can take the initiative to ask for more. No matter the children can finish eating all the food or not, they should know clearly that they will not be given any snacks before next meal.


  3. Set rules for the children during meal time

    Clear rules will increase the chance of having a smooth mealtime. Here are some good rules to consider:

    1. Don't leave your seat when eating,

    2. No playing with toys/ mobile phone/ tablet/ any electronic products while eating.(Because it will only distract the children, extend their eating time. of course, adults have to set a good model ourselves),

    3. Don't play with food,

    4. Don't waste food (???)

    5. Feed yourself


  1. Tips

    1. Use a timer. If a child has a minor problem, for example: eating too slowly, we can set a count down timer and remind him/her that the meal time will end when the timer gets to zero. He/she should finish the food within the time limit.  Before the next meal, we will not give the child any food and snacks.

    2. Deliberately ignore some behavior: Some children like to do little tricks to attract the attention of parents/caregivers. Some children feel curious of their surroundings when eating outside and want to look around. In these cases the best thing to do is to deliberately ignore the behavior. Sometimes giving a child too much attention will encourage them to do more improper behavior.

  2. Reward and Consequences

    1. Rewards help the children to follow the rules and eat better. For example, if the
      children sit and eat properly, they can enjoy a snack after dinner, or let the children  enjoy 10 minutes more play time in the park. Also, praise the children for the good behaviour as it will encourage them to be more willing to comply with the meal rules. Also let the children know the consequences of non-compliance.


    1. Punishment or Consequences: help children cultivate good habits and learn to obey the rules. If a child ignores the warning of adults, continues to do improper behavior, or breaks the rules,  then they need to experience some negative consequences so that they will learn to take responsibility for their own actions.

      For example, if a child has tantrums or throws food on the floor, we can bring the child to  a corner, tell him that he violated a meal rule and will be subject to a consequence. There are many ways to punish a child including: make a child sit in the corner for two minutes before they can continue to eat together; cancel play time in the park, etc. If the child admits the misbehaviour, or says "sorry", we should accept and forgive them. We can praise them, "I appreciate that you admit and are willing to correct from your mistake, you are a good boy."


Meal times for small children do not need to become a "contest of wills" and misbehavior does not need to be resolved by physical punishment or shouting. If you follow these practical steps of relaxing your expectations about what and how much a child needs to eat, setting some basic rules along with rewards and consequences then meal time can be an enjoyable experience. The stress level at home will go down and life will improve for the children, the parents and the caregivers.


Kathy Lam is the Client Relationship Manager or Arrow Employment Services, registered nurse, Family Life Coach of I Care Family, a mother of 3 girls. 


當孩子六個月開始,便可以開始進食固體食物。由這時到學前的兒童, 我不時會聽到家長們申訴, 他們的孩子有不同的進食問題。要安排孩子們完成一頓飯,好像打仗般, 困難重重, 令他們非常頭痛。


學前兒童常見的飲食問題包括: 不肯乖乖坐下吃飯、偏食、拿食物玩耍、不肯自己吃飯、打翻食物、吃得很慢、發脾氣、一邊進食, 一邊玩玩具/手提電話/掌上電腦等等。


1. 家長對孩子不同時期成長的特質認識不足, 以致對孩子有有不切實際的期望。

a.學前兒童專注時間比較短,容易分心。如果用餐時間長, 或他們覺得悶,便會想四處走動。加上這年紀的孩子對四周事物都會充滿好奇心, 他們喜歡觸碰不同的東西。很難要求他們長時間乖乖坐在一個地方。

b. 孩子和大人一樣,對食物有偏好。只要孩子有均衡飲食,肯吃不同類的食物, 家長不必強迫他們吃不喜歡的食物。

c.孩子和大人一樣, 不會每天的胃口都一樣好。可能今天孩子可以吃半碗飯, 明天只想吃三分一碗飯就覺飽。不需要強迫孩子必需食完你所給他的所有份量,恐怕這次會令進餐變成苦差。


有些家長任由孩子們隨時想吃就吃。結果孩子吃過多零食,到吃正餐的時間就沒有胃口。要為這些孩子建立有規律的飲食習慣會更困難。也有些家長為了鼓勵孩子吃正餐時不四處走動, 而給與孩子玩具/電子產品一邊玩、一邊吃飯; 哄孩子吃飯或餵飯, 結果無意中給與孩子額外的注意力, 鼓勵了他們不吃飯這不恰當的行為。



食物的份量應該以孩子能夠吃完為準, 而非家長心中希望他吃多少。告訴他如食物份量不夠,孩子可以主動要求加添。無論孩子能夠吃完食物與否,在下一餐前, 他將不可以進食任何零食/小吃。


因這只會令孩子分心, 延長他進食的時間。


要孩子立刻停止正玩得興高采烈的遊戲/活動時間去進食, 對他們而言,是一件很掃興的事。他們不合作、不服從的機會很高。我們可以預先給孩子心理準備,如: 「雯雯,玩多一次這遊戲, 就去洗手吃飯。」或者「妹妹,要吃晚餐了,你可以玩多三分鐘, 就去洗手吃飯。」這樣, 係指會較容易和我們合作。




若想孩子服從規矩, 要定明遵守規則的奬勵。如: 孩子如果乖乖坐着吃飯, 飯後可享用一個小吃,或帶他到公園逛。稱讚孩子將鼓勵他們更樂意的遵守用餐規矩。 


i. 溫馨提示

如果孩子犯了小問題, 例如:吃得慢, 可以提醒他, 用餐的時間是30分鐘/45分鐘,夠鐘就會收拾所有食物。在下一次用餐前, 不會給孩子任何食物和小吃。

ii. 刻意忽略

有些孩子喜歡做一些小動作, 以吸引父母或照顧者的注意力。另外,在外用餐時, 有時孩子因為對四周的環境好奇, 喜歡東張西望。這時, 我們可刻意忽略這些小搗蛋的行為。給孩子過多的注意力,有時反而會鼓勵他們不恰當的行為。

iii. 懲罰

所有孩子都應該至少培養服從規矩的好習慣。如果孩子不理會大人的溫馨提示, 仍繼續不當的行為, 或破壞規矩, 便要為自己的行為負責, 接受後果。假如孩子在進餐時,做了些嚴重不恰當的行為, 便要接受懲罰。

如:  發脾氣、打翻食物, 我們可以把孩子帶到一旁, 告訴他他犯了什麼用餐規矩, 與他將要受到什麼懲罰, 然後執行。懲罰的方法可以有很多,包括:處罰孩子自己坐在一角兩分鐘, 然後才可以一起繼續進餐;取消去公園玩 。假如孩子認錯,或說:「對不起」,我們便要接納、原諒他們。可以稱讚他們:「知錯能改, 是好孩子。」


以上的教導實際可行, 不用打罵孩子, 大家也可以改善學前孩子的進餐問題。假若父母或照顧者說一套、做一套, 或家中不同的照顧者沒有一致地堅決執行所定立的規矩, 只會變相鼓勵孩子不守規矩, 令他們進餐的問題變得更嚴重。願這分享能幫助所有家長或照顧者, 有效、輕鬆地處理學前孩子的進餐問題。







性教育,由家庭開始,由父母開始 2

以下問題都是我三個女兒年幼時曾問的問題, 現與大家分享, 盼望各家長也以輕鬆心情回應孩子千奇百趣的問題:


女兒: 媽媽, 未出生前的我是從哪裏來到這個世界?

我: 既然你是天父賜給父母的禮物, 那未出生前的你當然是由天父哪裏來。

(基督敎相信上帝乃萬物之源, 創造世界、創造生命。故我如此回答。女兒們也很滿意這答案)


女兒: 為何我是女孩,不是男孩?

我: 這個我也不知道。我想, 天父認為做女仔最適合你, 所以造你成為女仔。媽媽感謝天父造你成為女仔, 那你可以選留長髮、短髮、梳辮子、扮靚;選穿褲子、穿裙子也可。

(若你生的是兒子, 你也可肯定他作為男孩這性別是天父揀選的、喜悅的。父母對孩子性別的肯定與否,將直接影響他們的自我形象、與兩性相處時的態度、性取向等)


女兒: 為何女孩坐着小便? 男孩站着小便?

我: 男孩站着小便, 因為他們有陰莖。就像茶壺上的壺嘴能把茶準確倒進茶杯內, 男孩站着小便時, 陰莖可把小便(比較)準確地射進馬桶內。就像用碗把水倒進茶杯內,水會四濺般;女孩沒有陰莖,若站着小便, 小便也會四濺。故此女孩坐着小便比較方便、衛生。

(家長若想教導更生動, 可與他們一同做用茶壺、碗倒水的實驗)


女兒: 媽媽, 為何你的胸大, 我的胸卻是平的?

我: 媽媽的胸較你的大, 因媽媽已發育。你的胸是平的, 這是因你仍是孩子, 未發育。女孩一般由九至十二歲左右,才開始發育, 叫「青春期」。女孩發育其中一個特徵, 便是乳房變大。另外, 腋下及下體到時會長出毛髮等, 這都是正常的。


女兒: 那為何一些女孩乳房大, 一些女孩乳房小?

我: 女孩乳房大小因人而異, 主要由父母基因遺傳影響。當然, 若媽媽生了孩子, 乳房也會再變大些, 因乳房儲了母乳,可供孩子奶喝。乳房就像是孩子天然的奶瓶, 母乳是天父透過媽媽送給孩子營養最豐富的禮物。乳房大小黃母乳供應量多少沒有直接關係。


女兒: 爸爸, 為何你的小鳥(陰莖)有毛,我的小便處卻沒有?

爸爸: 你小便處沒有毛只因你還未發育。男孩女孩到了青春期, 小便附近皮膚都會長毛。除此之外, 腋窩也會長毛。男孩還會開始長鬍子、喉嚨長核、聲音變低沉; 手毛、腳毛增長等。這些都是「青春期」的自然生理現象。


女兒: 媽媽, 為何男孩可以不穿上衣, 女孩卻不可以?

我: 天父造男女身體不同。一般而言, 男孩即使不穿上衣, 女孩看了也不會有特別的感覺。但, 已發育女孩的身體對男孩而言, 卻是十分吸引、誘惑的。女孩不穿上衣, 或衣著過分暴露, 恐怕會給男孩錯誤信息, 以為她是性隨便的人。此外, 中國人傳統觀念認為, 只有不正經的女人或妓女, 才會隨便在其他人面前暴露自己的身體。所以, 女孩子在有其他人的情況或公眾場合, 需要穿衣服。


若父母可以輕鬆、平常心情與子女談性、身體、青春期等敏感題目;耐心聆聽、盡力解答, 或請敎有專業知識的人, 再答孩子, 將來孩子有與「性」相關問題, 如: 戀愛、拍拖、擇偶等問題, 也自然放心向父母求教、商量。相反, 若每次孩子提問, 父母也責備, 或轉移話題, 不了了之, 恐怕只會關閉父母和子女溝通之門, 窒礙孩子好奇、求真的心, 誤以為「性」是禁忌、是髒的, 便不再把心裡的疑問向父母坦白表達。將來遇有問題, 孩子也不會再告訴父母,   改而轉向朋輩、雜誌、電影、上網等不同媒體和渠道, 接受似是而非、扭曲的性觀念、戀愛觀、婚姻觀等, 後果不可謂不嚴重。到那時候, 才去糾正他們, 便恐怕太遲了。把握孩子年幼的時候, 向他們灌輸正確的性教育。


「我不是你的家人」 香港菲律賓籍家務傭工吃飯的學問

很好的文章, 值得每個香港菲傭的僱主(這文章也適合印尼女傭的僱主)詳細閱讀及檢視自己給家中外傭膳食的安排:

"... ...所有的人(菲傭)都說:如果有選擇的話,他們寧願獨自一人在廚房吃飯;即使必須站著,又熱又悶,也比在餐廳坐著吃好。"



如果你是中國人,請記得在農曆新年前,教導你的外籍家庭傭工關於農曆新年的宜忌(Dos & Don'ts),讓她可更貼心地在農曆新年服待你與你的家人、親友。  

1每天保持微笑的臉 Keep a smiling face from day to night
2無論遇見何人,包括僱主一家人,或其親友,都應立即十指緊扣,說祝福的話。Clasp your hands, greet everyone you see, no matter baby or elder with blessing words

a教她說-"Sun Nin Fai Lok"-(廣東話)  / "Xin Nian Kuai Le"-(普通話)(意:新年快樂)

-"Gung Hay Fat Choy"-(廣東話)  / "Gong Xi Fa Cai"-(普通話)(意:恭喜發財)

-教她應預備甚麼招待客人。如:說"Ching Yam Cha"-(廣東話) (意:請飲茶)  或

"Xing Ke Cha"-(普通話) (意:請喝茶)

b拿全盒請客人吃糖果。serve snack box,
3教她煮新年的餸菜,招呼客人。teach them what kind of Chinese food to cook to serve your guests .
4穿紅色/色彩鮮豔的衣服 wear Red/ colourful clothes
5當你帶她到親友家前,告訴她你期望她做什麼?例如:照顧嬰兒/蹣跚學步的孩子,或在廚房幫手準備食物和整理?  e.g. take care of baby/toddler/ friend's kid , or help in the kitchen? prepare food and tidy up?

6每當任何人給她利是,她必須用兩隻手接住,然後十指緊扣,說“謝謝” "Dor Che"(廣東話) 或“ “Xièxiè”(普通話)  , “恭喜發財” - “Gung Hay Fat Choy"-(廣東話) / "Gong Xi Fa Cai"- (普通話) (但不可以在對方面前打開它,這是不禮貌的)



1穿黑色上衣,wear black upper clothes
2早上洗澡、洗頭髮,take shower/ wash hair in the morning
3打破或掉落任何東西,例如任何菜,眼鏡,食物 break anything
4哭泣 cry

5 掃地 / 抹地 sweep or mop the floor



Teach Your Helpers About The Dos and Don'ts In The Lunar Chinese New Year

If you are Chinese, please remember to teach your domestic helpers about the Dos and Don'ts in the Lunar Chinese New Year before it will come.

1 Keep a smiling face from day to night
2 Clasp your hands, greet every one you see, no matter baby or elder with blessing words, e.g.

-"Sun Nin Fai Lok"-Cantonese / "Xin Nian Kuai Le"-Mandarin(Happy New Year)
-"Gung Hay Fat Choy"-Cantonese / "Gong Xi Fa Cai"- Mandarin(Hope you are wealthy)
-inform your helper what to prepare to serve guests.
e.g. a. serve tea/soft drinks, say,"Ching Yam Cha"-Cantonese or  "Xing Ke Cha"-Mandarin (please drink tea.
b.  serve snack box,
3 teach them what to cook to serve your guests before any guest come.
4 wear Red/ colourful clothes
5 When you will bring her to other people's home, what do you expect her to do? e.g. take care of baby/toddler/ friend's kid , or help in the kitchen? prepare food and tidy up?

6 Whenever any person give her a red pocket, she must receive it with two hands, then clasp the  hands and say "thank you"  or "Dor Che"-Cantonese / "Xièxiè"-Mandarin or or "Gung Hay Fat Choy"-Cantonese / "Gong Xi Fa Cai"- Mandarin. (But never open it in front of people, it is impolite)


1 wear black upper clothes,

2 wash hair, take shower in the morning

3 break or drop anything, e.g.  any dishes, glasses, food

4 cry

5 sweep or mop the floor

Of course, every family's culture is different and unique. Please teach her the special culture and rule in your family during the Lunar Chinese New Year.  Happy New Year!

Labour Law Revision: Statutory holidays 重温勞工法例:法定假日

~Helpers who are working less than three months are also entitled to statutory holiday (without pay). If the helper have been employed continuously for three months, she  is entitled to have the holiday with pay.

~Employer may require helper(s) to work on a statutory holiday. However, the employer must:

  • give notice to helpers for not less than 48 hours in advance ;

  • within 60 days before or after the holiday, arrange an alternative holiday for the helpers.

~Helpers who are working less than three months are also entitled to statutory holiday (without pay). If the helper have been employed continuously for three months, she  is entitled to have the holiday with pay.

~Employer may require helper(s) to work on a statutory holiday. However, the employer must:

  • give notice to helpers for not less than 48 hours in advance ;

  • within 60 days before or after the holiday, arrange an alternative holiday for the helpers.

Q: If the statutory holiday falls on a rest day,  e.g. 1/1/2017, must employers give helpers another holiday?

A: Yes. Employer shall give a compensatory leave to the helper if the statutory holiday falls on a rest day, the next day which is not a statutory holiday or rest day. So 2/1/2017 is also domestic helpers' holidays.

Q: If helper(s) agree, can employers give  an additional statutory holiday pay in lieu of granting him / her a replacement of an alternative holiday?

A: NO. An employer who violates the above requirements may be prosecuted. Upon conviction, the employer is liable to a fine of HK $ 50,000.







若傭工同意, 僱主可否以額外補薪代替發放法定假日給他/她?

不可以。僱主如違反上述規定. 用功你個可被檢控。一經定罪,可被罰款港幣5萬元。


如果法定假日適逢傭工的休息日, 僱主是否必須給予傭工另外補假?




外籍家傭離港回菲律賓放假前,請確保她已申請 海外就業證書(OEC)



1 網上申請,詳情可登入:

Get your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or Exemption Online



2 親身前往菲律賓領事館申請。 她應攜帶: 護照連有效土作簽証、海外工人福利協會(OWWA)會籍、機票、僱主証明信、費用HK$20。(適用於放假後,回港為新僱主工作之菲傭)





What to prepare if your helper will have holidays back to the Philippines...

If your helper will have holidays back to the Philippines, please make sure she will get Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) before she will leave Hong Kong.


A domestic helper cannot enter HK without a valid OEC.  It is issued by the Philippines Consulate. Method:


1 Get OEC by online. For detail, please go to: Get your Overseas Employment Certificate (OEC) or Exemption Online

(It applies to those domestic helpers who will work for the same employment contract with the same employer)  


2 Apply in the Philippine Consulate. She should bring the air ticket, passport with valid visa, information sheet(form supplied), $20. HKID, valid OWWA membership, Authorization letter(for representative).

(It applies to those domestic helpers who will work for a new employer under a  new employment contract)  


For detail, please go to: