Managing Mealtimes with Your Toddler

toddler-eating

When feeding a child offer nutritious foods so that your child will grow and be healthy.

Some things to Remember:

  •  A toddler cannot sit still for very long.
  •  A toddler cannot help making a mess, as he does not have fine motor control.
  •  A toddler needs to be as independent as he can be; he needs the opportunity to learn and practice.
  •  A toddler is easily frustrated.

What you can do to make mealtimes with your toddler more positive?

  •  Believe that your child will not starve.  It is surprising how little food a toddler really needs.
  • Be aware that the responsibility for feeding a toddler is divided between parent and child:  You are responsible for what your child is offered to eat, where and when it is presented.  Your toddler is responsible for how much of it she eats.  At each meal offer foods from different food groups and let your toddler decide what to eat and how much of it.
  • Offer child-sized portions: A child will feel overwhelmed by too much food on his plate and may refuse to eat at all. A child’s serving is 1/4 or 1/3 of an adult portion size. Give less than you think your child will eat and let him ask for more. 
  • Offer nutritious snacks:  Toddler’s stomachs are small and they use up a lot of energy. What they eat at mealtime will not carry them until the next mealtime.  Mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks can make up for foods not eaten at mealtimes.  
  • Encourage your toddler’s independence; set your child up for success:  Prepare food in a form that is reasonably easy for your toddler to manage, for example, finger foods, thickened soups.
  • Let the meal end when your toddler has had enough:  If she doesn’t want anymore, she’s done. This should be up to her. Teaching your child to listen to her “hungry” or “full” cues is important for preventing overeating later in life.
  • Try to keep mealtime enjoyable:  Mealtime is not the time to argue, scold or fight.
  • Try not to use food as a reward, punishment, bribe or threat:  Try to keep your child’s eating completely separate from his discipline.  If you use food (sweets, treats) as rewards during the toddler period, your child will learn to place an emotional value on food.

Remember, stay calm about eating and meals. As long as your child is growing and is active, he or she is getting enough to eat.

 

References

Your Baby and Child From Birth to Age Five by Penelope Leach, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1978
Child of Mine: Feeding with Love and Good Sense by Ellyn Satter, R.D., M.S., M.S.S.W., Bull Publishing Co., Palo Alto, CA, 1086

See original article here

 

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About welcomebabysl

Welcoming a newborn baby into your home is an overwhelming experience. Like other first-time parents, you are probably experiencing feelings of excitement and anticipation, as well as anxiety and uncertainty. The next few years of your child's life are very critical, and parents play a vital role in promoting healthy growth and development. Because children don’t come with a user’s manual, parents are left to follow their instincts, rely on previous knowledge, research the answers or ask family and friends for advice. It is definitely a learning experience, but not one that has to be done alone. Welcome Baby offers several different levels of support to first-time parents.
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