As your baby reaches their toddler years, you’ll find there are great changes in your child’s eating habits. They’ll start to become fussier about food – both the kind of food they’re eating, how much of it they’re eating, and when they’re eating it.
It’s a stressful thing for all parents to go through, and you should know you aren’t alone when no amount of bargaining and pleading will work. Many parents, just like you, find it hard to feed their toddlers. Toddlers are known for being selective when it comes to food. Still, it’s essential to get some food in their system: here are some tips on how you can encourage better food and dining habits in your little ones.
Use a Toddler Dining Seat
You can make meals enjoyable with toddler dining chairs. It’s an excellent way for your child to eat meals with family, and your little one can feel like a grown-up with their high toddler chair. A seat that’s made for toddlers during mealtime can also save you the trouble of chasing them around the house with a spoon.
If this has been your practice at home, stop it immediately and educate them on why they should eat their meals on the table. It would make things easier for you, and the toddler can experience quality family time.
Overall, a dining chair can help engage your little one in family time and the food they eat and increase their willingness to try new foods.
Be Patient With Them
Remember that your child is a toddler: they would probably much rather be playing games. Remind yourself that your child is just being a toddler and satisfying their need to play and observe their surroundings.
It doesn’t mean that you should give up on encouraging a more consistent food routine. Keeping this thought in mind allows you to become more patient with your toddler despite their tantrums and reluctance to eat. Being a parent requires a lot of patience. Sometimes you could try to feed your child 10 to 15 times before they decide to eat especially when you’re letting them try new food.
Serve the Right Amount
Avoid giving too much or too little food to your toddler. Serve different kinds of food and textures to keep them interested in their food. Your child would still feel like they’re still discovering new things while sitting for minutes.
Consult with your healthcare provider how much is the right amount. However, a good rule of thumb is one tablespoon of each food for each year of age. So, if they’re two years old, you would serve two tablespoons of each food you made. When their plate has small portions, they can ask for more and try to finish their food.
Try To Make Things Fun
As you may have observed, your child is more interested in playing games or watching television than sitting down and eating. If so, ask yourself if you’ve made an effort to make eating fun for your little ones.
Doing so is relatively easy. You can try cutting food into shapes using cookie cutters and display the food in a fun and creative way. Stimulate your child’s imagination by painting a picture on their plate. This way, they can come up with special names for their favourite foods and engage them to eat more.
Avoid forcing them to eat and punishing them if they won’t eat. If you do this, there’s a possibility that they will find eating a chore and have more reasons not to eat. Remember to be patient and encourage them to eat when hungry. Don’t tell them off if they ate after lunch hours. They may find it difficult to tell you next time if they’re hungry and just go to sleep hungry.
Be a Good Example
As a parent, try to set a good example for your children. You’re the authority, the adult, the parent in the house. As such, they look at you as their example, which psychologists call social learning. It’s where toddlers learn from social contexts how to behave.
Eating various healthy foods in front of your child would pique their interest in eating the same food. It’s also essential if you’re trying to feed your toddler new food that they haven’t tried before. Show how yummy it is and encourage them to try it.
Remember that your toddler is naturally interested in their environment, and as a new life in this world, they have so many things to see and explore in the world around them. Thanks to this curiosity, it may be difficult for your child to sit patiently for a traditional meal. These tiny beings have much to see, especially once they’ve learned to crawl or walk.
Whenever you’re having a hard time, just take note of the things mentioned above. Just remember that your toddlers are also humans, which means that if the got hungry, they would naturally feel their hunger and find food. It’s like how infants cry if they’re hungry. Just be patient with your child and avoid making mealtimes an unpleasant experience for them.