| Jen Reilley
As your baby becomes a toddler, his/her eating and drinking habits will start to change. Toddlers are less interested in food because they grow at a slower pace than when they are babies. They become more interested in exploring their environment and testing their new motor skills. And the cutest reason, they are learning to say no - sign of independence. As the world becomes more exciting and eating a less interesting activity, you become worried and frustrated in feeding your child.
Here are some tips to make mealtimes satisfying and nourishing for you and your tot:
- Forget what books tell you on how much you should feed your child; a toddler has a natural gauge of the quantity of food they should eat. But they still don’t know what’s good for them, so offer them different healthy options. A healthy child will not starve themselves by refusing food.
- Mealtimes should be fun and happy times. Keep these activities fun, happy and relaxed times. Don’t fuss over a mess because this is a given. Children see mealtimes as an opportunity to play. The important thing is to instill the habit of sitting and enjoying the meal in whatever way is there to enjoy them.
- Keep a regular schedule of meals and snacks. Establishing the habit of sitting down to eat and times for eating helps in establishing a regular routine for the child. And if the child refuses the food options for that certain meal, DON’T make another dish; instead wait for the next meal or snack.
- Don’t pile the plate with food, instead give them smaller servings. Big and regular servings will bore them. Allow them to choose how much food, if they are still hungry, they will ask for more.
- Food fads are normal with toddlers. They may like and want to eat one certain kind of food all the time but this will pass. Don’t be alarmed by picky eating at this stage because this will change in time.
- You should learn to keep calm, patient and relaxed during mealtime. The less fuss you make the better. Do not comment on uneaten food; assume your tot had enough to eat.
Enjoy this time in your toddler’s life, make mealtimes fun rather than miserable because this will make a lasting impression on them, and don’t make too much a fuss about eating. It is more important for you to establish routine and schedules rather than the quantity of food at this time.