There is no one on the earth more opinionated than a toddler. Sometimes these opinions are merely to show you that they are becoming independent. Sometimes they merely want to be defiant. Many times food becomes the issue at hand. Some toddlers decide to show off their new independence by refusing all food put in front of them. Many a parental sleepless night has been spent over this issue. There are several ways to promote toddler eating without turning the table into a battlefield.
Serve Yourself Lunch
I have a very defiant twenty month old daughter. Sometimes the only way I can get her to eat is to only fix myself lunch and wait for her to come to me and ask for my food. Undoubtedly, she would have refused the same food if I hadn’t eaten it myself first.
If your toddler is still in a highchair, move him/her to a booster chair. Sometimes, the refusal to eat can be a sign that they want to eat and sit more like an adult. The booster seat did wonders for my daughter’s eating habits. If your child is already in a booster seat, try changing the location or the style of seat. Once I put my daughter’s booster seat on the opposite side of the table, and boom, she started to eat. Check your local baby supply stores and see if they carry booster chairs that look more like a real chair. The more toddlers feel like grown-ups, the more they tend to eat like grown-ups.
Every toddler likes to play. Sometimes taking a break to eat puts a real cramp in their playing time. If this is the case for your child, try making the food you serve fun. Make the traditional happy face pancake with blueberry eyes and a bacon mouth. Even the most mundane foods can be fun. Squish up mashed potatoes on the plate and create little designs with peas or vegetables. Take Yogurt and in drop raisins. This can be polka dotted soup. Kids are extremely creative. Have them design with you.
Recruit a Helper
Sometimes the best medicine for a picky eater is to get them involved in the food creation process. Even young toddlers can help some. If you are having spaghetti, let him/her, break the pasta in half and place it into a bowl. If you are making something that requires stirring, let your toddler stir while you do other preparations. Children take pride in what they create. If a toddler helps to make his/her own lunch, they will be more likely to sample some of their masterpiece.
Toddlers are adorable creatures that bring with them a lot of hard work. Making food a non issue is one step in the right direction. These tips for getting my picky toddler to eat saved my sanity.