Parenting Tips – Dealing with A Picky Eater

Posted on August 1, 2012 · Posted in Parenting

Parents and kids go through many issues together, and in the toddler stage, one of the most difficult issues they face is the subject of eating.

As their children enter the toddler stage, parents are faced with the new challenge of ensuring the health and nutrition of their kids. Their efforts, however, are often met with resistance on the part of the active young child. The problem of ‘picky eaters’ is therefore an age-old problem parents face. But with some practical techniques, parents can keep their kids well-nourished without much difficulty.

Tips for Parents of Toddlers

Toddler-Feeding Basics

As your child becomes a toddler, his diet has to start looking like your own diet. That means he needs three meals per day and some healthy snacks in between. He will also be nursing for about 2 to 3 times in a day.

Preferably, toddlers should be fed healthy selections such as grains, vegetables, fruits, some meat, fish, beans, peas, and lentils. To avoid having to cook a lot for each mealtime, simply include these healthy offerings in the food that you cook for the rest of the family. This way, your toddler can eat with you on the table.

For snacks, fruit and fruit juices are healthy options, although toddlers should not be given more than 6 ounces of 100% fruit juice in a day.

Dealing with A Picky Eater

If your toddler is a picky eater but is also very active and energetic physically, then that means he gets all the nutrition that he needs from his nursing feeds and any food that he actually eats. So there’s usually no need to force anything on him. If he starts showing signs of sluggishness and lack of energy, then this is a sure sign that he is not getting enough nutrients from his diet. Only then should you step up your efforts in feeding him more nutritious meals every day.

Some parents also label their kids as picky eaters when this is not really true. Toddlers only typically eat ¼ of the normal adult serving, so if you think your toddler is not eating enough, check again. Perhaps he is eating just right, and along with his milk, he might be getting more than enough than his body needs.

Sometimes, parents also feed their toddlers too much milk, so when mealtime comes, toddlers are too full to finish their plates. To give your toddler an interest in food during mealtime, limit his milk intake to just 16 to 24 ounces every day.

In some cases, toddlers do not like being spoon-fed. So if you think your toddler is a picky eater, try to let him feed himself and see if there’s any difference to his behavior towards food. Most toddlers like to eat on their own, even if this causes quite a lot of mess, so always give them the chance to do so. This can be considered as a learning exercise for your kid too.

Potty Training Basics

During this period, your toddler also has to embark on the first leg of his potty training. While children’s ability to pick up the potty habit may differ in pace, it is your responsibility as a parent to encourage him to begin earlier. There are many methods used to potty train a child, so you can choose the method that works best given your toddler’s attitude and pace. You have to be patient, though; do not start too early and push a child to potty train when he’s just not yet ready. If you’re observant enough, you will know when it’s time to potty train your child. Start picking up signs when your kid hits his first year. Most of the time, however, toddlers aged 18 months are more receptive to potty training techniques than younger children are.

Speech Development Basics

Another major issue for parents of toddlers is speech development. Many people think that the age at which a toddler begins talking can be attributed to the parenting skills of his parents. Although you can certainly do a lot to encourage your child to learn how to talk earlier, most children go at their own pace, so this is not usually a cause for concern. Your toddler may not be talking as well as you’d like to, but as long as there is progress, there’s no need to worry.

There are speech developmental milestones that you can follow; here’s an example:

  • Between 7 to 15 months – a toddler should be able to babble and form words like “mama” or “dada”.
  • Between 11 and 22 months – a toddler should be able to say four to six words.
  • Between 18 and 27 months – a toddler should be able to say 50 words or more.

There are general developmental milestones, though. Keep in mind that every child is different. Some start talking early but cannot form words well for a long time, while some may start talking late but can already form words perfectly when they do start. So the best way is to just encourage speech by talking and reading to your toddler; he’ll pick up the talking habit when he’s ready.Natural memory enhancer