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Ask Mr Breakfast
Dear Mr Breakfast,
My 10-year-old son will not eat breakfast. What should I do?
- Dawn P.

AnswerDear Dawn,

I've heard scary stories before about children who don't like breakfast and it always destroys me. I blame the hole in the ozone layer. Something, or someone, is futzing with nature and I don't like it. Lions eat breakfast. Birds eat breakfast. Every animal under the sun eats breakfast. So why have certain human children become prone to disliking breakfast?

There's not much I can do personally to fix the hole in the ozone layer, but there is something I can do to fix your boy. I'm going to need your help.

The first thing I'm going to tell you is what NOT to do. Do not feed your kid pizza or cheese macaroni in the morning just because he likes it. Certainly it's important to get some nutrients in your youngster before sending him off to school, but not at the expense of creating a spoiled brat that gets everything he wants. You'll hear otherwise from certain psyco-babble-ologists, but don't listen. They're offering you the easy way out. For the sake of your son's future, you have to be willing to put forth more effort than dishing out cold spaghetti.

That's not to say you shouldn't play to his favorites. You just have to play right. If your little guy likes pizza, make him a pizza omelette. If he likes chocolate, try making chocolate waffles. Use his favorite foods as a tool to turn him toward the world of breakfast, but do so in moderation. Try phrases like "You had peanut butter and jelly pancakes yesterday. Let's try a buttermilk one today." Ease him into it and soon he'll be asking for waffles without the "chocolate" and "strawberry" adjectives.

Talk to your youngster. Children respond to common sense, and even more importantly they respond to peer pressure. Scientific studies have proven that children who eat breakfast perform better on tests and are more alert throughout the day. Explain to your boy that eating breakfast will make him better than the other kids. Over the long run, it will make him more attractive. (Over 78% of fat people who loose weight and keep it off use breakfast as part of their diet strategy.) Your kid doesn't want to be fat.

Finally if working with his mouth and his mind are both unsuccessful, work with his heart. Back in my day, there was something called "tough love". If my mother put a breakfast in front of me and I acted fussy, she would firmly say, "Eat your darn breakfast" and propose a simple threat such as no playtime or no more food the rest of the day. I didn't like my mother a whole lot during those moments, but you know what -- I got over it.

Every morning, you have to wake up and tell yourself, "I'm not just making a breakfast; I'm shaping a young mind." You have a chance to turn a smart-Alex try-nothing into someone who relishes trying new things, someone poised for success. Like the proverbial day, that too begins with breakfast.

Thanks a lot for your question.

This article was written by Mr Breakfast (aka Eddy Chavey).

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