I can’t figure out why my two year old has suddenly become such a finicky eater. Meal times have become a battle of wills between us because I am anxious that he won’t eat and he is determined to pick at his food. What can I do to get him to eat a full meal?
Frustrated Chef – South Boston
There are many reasons why meal times with your two year old have become more challenging. Lets explore some potential causes and remedies.
- Change to or Lack of a Mealtime Schedule. Inconsistent meal times can be confusing for a toddler. By setting and following a three meal a day mealtime schedule your toddler will learn when to expect to eat daily. Once you set your mealtime schedule try your best to keep it.
- Make Mealtimes Less Stressful! Don’t insist that your toddler use a spoon. If eating with their fingers make your toddler more at ease and enthusiastic about their meal worry about etiquette later.
- Keep Portions Small. Try offering your toddler smaller portions. Your toddler may be intimidated by lots of food on the plate and being expected to eat it all! Try two to three tablespoon sized portions at a time; he/she will ask for more if they are still hungry. Try to present a calm happy attitude during meal times and don’t pressure your child to eat more. A small appetite is not necessarily an indication that your child is ill. Although if you continue to be concerned consult your child’s pediatrician.
- Reduce Snacks. Try to eliminate sugary snacks and fruit juices during the day. Encourage consumption of water and milk and offer healthy snacks only once or twice daily; but not to close to meals times.
It is important to remember when teaching our children or trying to modify their behavior, patience and love make all of the difference in success or failure.
Tartt’s Day Care Center’s Boston based childcare centers operating since 1946 specialize in the care and education of infants and toddlers. We realize that teaching children to share requires a coordinated effort between parents and educators.
“Ask The Director “ is written by Wanda Geer in collaboration with Anita Handy and Nida Wright. Director’s at Tartt’s Day Care Centers Inc. their combined childcare experience totals 40 years.