- As a toddler, your child may start to refuse to eat some foods, become a very picky eater or even go on binges where they will only want to eat a certain food.
- As a toddler, your child may start to refuse to eat some foods, become a very picky eater or even go on binges where they will only want to eat a certain food. An important way that children learn to be independent is through establishing independence about feeding. Even though your child may not be eating as well rounded a diet as you would like, as long as your child is growing normally and has a normal energy level, there is probably little to worry about. Remember that early childhood is a period in his development where he is not growing very fast and doesn’t need a lot of calories.
- You should also not prepare more than one meal for your child. If he doesn’t want to eat what was prepared for the rest of the family, then he should not be forced to, but you should also not give him something else to eat. He will not starve after missing a single meal, and providing alternatives to the prepared meal will just cause more problems later.
- Other ways to prevent feeding problems are to not use food as a bribe or reward for desired behaviors, avoid punishing your child for not eating well, limit mealtime conversation to positive and pleasant topics, avoid discussing or commenting on your child’s poor eating habits while at the table, limit eating and drinking to the table or high chair, and limit snacks to two nutritious snacks each day.
- Although your child will probably be hesitant to try new foods, you should still offer small amounts of them once or twice a week (one tablespoon of green beans, for example). Most children will try a new food after being offered it 10-15 times.
- While you should provide three well-balanced meals each day, it is important to keep in mind that most younger children will only eat one or two full meals each day. If you toddler has had a good breakfast and lunch, then it is okay that he doesn’t want to eat much at dinner.
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