Mealtimes don’t have to be a nightmare for your children. Or you. Find out how you can make meals fun for your picky kid.
Parents of most toddlers are well aware of the struggles of getting their kids to eat. In fact, picky eating is often the norm for toddlers. After the rapid growth of infancy, a toddler’s growth rate and appetite tends to slow down. This is also the time when they start to develop food preferences, and start having opinions on what they would like to eat. A toddler’s favorite food one day may be snubbed the very next day or they might want to eat the same food for weeks on end.
Try not to get frustrated by this typical toddler behavior. Just make healthy food choices available and be assured that, with time, your child’s appetite and eating behaviors will become consistent. Meanwhile, here are some tips that will help you navigate through the picky eater stage.
1. Do not fight with them over food
If your toddler refuses a meal, do not scold them for it. Let them learn to listen to their bodies and use hunger as a guide. It’s a parent’s responsibility to provide food, and the child’s decision to eat it. Pressuring kids to eat, or punishing them if they don’t, can make them even more resistant to eating foods that they might have otherwise liked.
2. Keep trying
Don’t give up just because your child refused the food that one time. Keep offering new foods including those that your child didn’t like before. It will take some time before a toddler’s taste buds accept it. Scheduled meals and limiting snacks will ensure your child is hungry during mealtimes.
3. Make their foods fun
Toddlers love eating food that look and smell good. Make food look delicious by arranging them in fun, colorful shapes. Finger foods are also usually a hit with toddlers. Cut solid foods into bite size pieces they can easily eat themselves.
4. Let your kids help you while planning meals
Let your child pick which fruit and vegetable to make for dinner. Let them also accompany you on visits to the grocery store or farmer’s market. This will interest them in trying out the food they have themselves chosen.
5. Eat meals together
Eating meals together as a family without any distractions will make your kids look forward to mealtimes. Make at least one dish that you know your child enjoys so that they get to enjoy this together-time instead of fussing over food.