We all know that toddlers can be difficult to feed. They want to eat everything and anything, and it is up to you as the parent to make sure they get a well-balanced diet. But if you’re struggling with this challenge, here are some tips on how to take care of your little one’s eating habits!
1. Let your toddler feed themselves.
If you are worried about the mess they will make, get a bib or put down some paper towel on them before you give them their food. But if possible, don’t use baby utensils—they might not be ready for it yet! You can teach them how to use their hands for utensils later, but for now, let them feed themselves with the food that you are already serving.
2. Let them play with their food.
Toddlers are naturally inquisitive, so do not be surprised if they want to explore their food. This is perfectly normal! Let them play with it as long as they are eating some of what you have given them. The cleanup will be a hassle, but it is a great opportunity to teach them about the different textures and colors of their food. Plus, they might decide that they don’t hate peas after all!
3. Avoid feeding them too often.
Yes, toddlers are very cute when they ask for food all the time, but it doesn’t mean that you should let them do this as it can lead to child obesity. Feeding a toddler can be a real pain for parents, so avoid making yourself more stressed by avoiding unnecessary feedings. Your child might have gone a couple of hours without eating, but he or she will not starve to death in such a short amount of time.
4. Don’t give in when you’re out with your toddler.
When you’re out with your little ones, it can be difficult to feed them. But this doesn’t mean that you should give in—especially if they are throwing a fit because they want something to eat! Eventually, your child will learn that you won’t just give in to their demands and that they cannot have food all the time.
5. Remember to schedule regular dental appointments.
A toddler’s eating habits can have a big impact on their dental health, so it is important that you schedule regular trips to your local dental clinic. Develop a dental routine when they are young to ensure that they do not develop cavities or decay later on.
6. Make time for breakfast!
If you want your toddler to have a healthy diet, it is important that they eat a healthy breakfast in the morning. This provides them with fuel for the day and will prevent them from getting hungry by lunchtime. Get into a routine of cooking a healthy breakfast every morning so that they get used to eating this at the beginning of the day.
7. Take care of their nutritional needs.
It might be difficult to feed them a nutritious diet if you are short on time, but it is important that you make an effort to do so. You can freeze some healthy meals and reheat them when you need them—it will save you time during the week! Read up on nutrition and consult with your pediatrician if you need advice.
8. Make eating time fun!
If you want to encourage your child to eat healthily, it is important that they enjoy their meals. So make eating time easier on yourself by having them sit at the table for a family meal or doing something special when they finish their food (a song, perhaps?). Also, try to avoid using TV as a distraction—you want them to eat their food and enjoy it!
9. Don’t keep junk food in the house.
Some parents believe that keeping unhealthy snacks around is fine because they allow their children easy access to food when they’re hungry. Some toddlers love their sugary snacks and drinks, but this is actually bad for them. Instead of giving in and allowing your child to eat some candy or drink some soda, try to provide healthier alternatives instead. If you want your child to develop healthy eating habits, getting rid of junk food is a great place to start. It’s probably the best thing to do for the entire household as well.
10. Don’t force them to eat if they don’t want it.
Sometimes, toddlers will refuse their food because they simply don’t like it! But this doesn’t mean that you should force them to eat—instead, try offering them something else that is equally as healthy and see if they take it.
And there you go! Now you know how to take care of your little one’s eating habits and how to encourage them to eat a nutritious, healthy diet. If you need more advice on this topic, talk with your pediatrician for professional advice.