Helping your child to eat healthily

To help your child to eat healthy, don’t force it.

The importance of breakfast

Make sure your child eats breakfast every day. It gives children energy that they need. Lead by example and make sure you eat a breakfast. Sit down with your child for breakfast as often as possible.

Other meals

Use children’s plates and bowls to give your child a small portion of food. Children’s appetite can increase according to your child’s growth. Do not try to over feed your child.

Tips to help your child eat healthily

Do not keep unhealthy snack foods such as biscuits and sweets in your house. Make healthy foods and choices available. For example, have a fruit bowl.

Let your child help you prepare food, it might encourage them to eat what they’ve made.

To help your child eat healthily:

  • don’t make big lifestyle changes, introduce new foods slowly without comment
  • don’t fuss about unhealthy food choices, focus on the healthier options
  • persist with changes, it may take several times to succeed
  • make fruit the snack of choice
  • avoid TV and phones when eating
  • introduce healthy swaps as a family such as changing from white bread to wholemeal bread
  • include vegetables at main meals and fruit at lunch
  • agree a day where everyone has a treat
  • choose milk and water as your drinks

Do not ban any foods outright, such as ice cream and sweets. A ban can make these foods more appealing.

Don’t make a fuss if your child eats sugary foods at a friend’s birthday party. It’s just a party treat.

The START website has meals, recipes, diaries, reward charts and advice to help parents encourage healthy eating and activity.


This was taken from the HSE website


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        Short videos on the Importance of Play have recently launched which was a collaboration between North Central CFSN and Lifestart Services.   Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4 Volume 5 Volume 6

Infant Mental Health Awareness Week runs from June 13th-19th.           

This week provides an opportunity to focus attention on the wellbeing, social and emotional development of our babies and young children. It highlights the importance of early relationships and a relationship based approach to interventions with infants and families. As our understanding of IMH and its evidence base develops, so also does our knowledge of how to apply this knowledge and an ‘IMH lens’ to interactions with infants, parents and caregivers in health and social services. 

What is infant mental health?

Infant Mental health (IMH) refers to the healthy social and emotional development of Infants starting at conception up to three years of age.

The first 1000 days of life are recognised as a critical period of opportunity to support infant mental health. Decades of research have shown that it is the quality of the early caregiver relationship that is a significant determinant of the infant’s healthy social and emotional development and in turn physical health, right up to adulthood.


The National Healthy Childhood Programme has embedded IMH as the foundation of the development of its resources and in the approach of the delivery of the universal child health service. This embedding of key messages can be seen in the My Child suite of books ( and also on  where key messages around bonding and relationship building have been embedded for the parent/caregiver.


In clinical practice the topic of IMH has been included for the first time in the National Standardised Child Health Record. To build on this, the National Healthy Childhood Programme have just completed a suite of three eLearning units which are now available on HSEland for healthcare practitioners / caregivers who are working with children and families.  


Throughout the week you will see videos and key IMH messaging being promoted on the HSE MyChild social media pages ( Facebook / Instagram ). Keep an eye out in the National Newspapers for articles from our experts also. (IrishTimes article)  


In addition The National Healthy Childhood Programme have developed a series of ten practical videos with HSE expert advice which are now available on YouTube and on the relevant pages on the website.

These videos (2-3 minutes each) are aimed at parents/guardians of children (0 – 3 years).

These new video resources are available here while lots more expert advice for every step of pregnancy, baby and toddler health can also be found at

There are a suite of posters available focusing on the promotion of IMH messaging to order from

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