Somewhere between 12 and 18 months, your calm baby tends to take control of his life.
If you want to dress him up, he decides pajamas are the perfect outfit for a walk in the park. When you call him, he runs away and laughs when you run after him.
Meal time turns into a nightmare. The child becomes picky and stubborn. Don’t let yourself turn the table into a battlefield. Here are some ways to make meals enjoyable for the whole family and help your child develop a healthy relationship with food.
Let your child eat on their own. Let him eat what he wants, not what he is forced to eat. Prepare a variety of dishes such as noodles, tofu cubes, broccoli, chopped carrots. Children love to dip food in liquids. Serve pancakes, toast and waffles with apple juice or yogurt. Encourage, but don’t force your child to try different foods. Let your child make their own food choices.
Take it the way
If your baby is more comfortable eating with his fingers, let him eat. If he manages to use a spoon or fork, even better. Do not interfere with any effort your children make to eat on their own. To encourage your child to use a spoon, place a small, handy spoon in the bowl of their favorite food. Try giving him applesauce, yogurt, puree.
Let me eat the dishes in any order
Let your children eat their food in the order they want. If they want to eat applesauce first and then vegetables, that’s their prerogative. Don’t focus on sweets. Let them see that you enjoy broccoli and carrots just as much as you enjoy fruit or cookies.
Cook simple meals
Chances are if you put in a lot of effort preparing a gourmet meal for your kids, you’ll be upset if they refuse it. Toddlers’ tastes change from day to day, and you’ll end up disappointed and upset if they don’t eat your birthday dinner. Don’t make your child feel guilty if he genuinely doesn’t like what you have prepared. Just give him something light, like a bowl of rice or peanut butter toast, and let the rest of the family enjoy what you’ve made.
Your child will not starve
Toddlers often refuse to eat, causing anxiety in parents. Pediatricians believe that this should not be a source of concern. Your child will eat when he is hungry and a missed meal will not cause malnutrition. Put food in plain sight and let the child reach for it. Try not to make a big problem out of feeding your baby. The more they see how important this is to you, the more they will resist.
Your kids won’t eat meals if they snack all day. Set morning and afternoon snack times. Serve healthy snacks like fruit, crackers, cheese, etc. Avoid very sweet and savory snacks as they encourage overeating. Give your child water to drink between meals, as milk and juice can fill the child and kill his appetite. Serve milk or juice with main meals.
Don’t use food as a reward
Toddlers are constantly testing their capabilities and yours. Resist the temptation to use food as a bribe, reward, or punishment, as this will not promote a healthy relationship with food. Don’t deprive him of food when he’s naughty, and don’t associate goodies with his good behavior.
Finish your meal early
When your child stops eating or says enough is enough, it’s time to finish the meal. Don’t insist that you finish every bite on your plate. Some foods can be wasted, but forcing a full child to eat is still a very unhealthy tendency. Children know when they are full. Encourage them to listen to their feelings so as not to overeat. Take leftover food to your pets or put it in a compost pit.
Enjoy your meal
A tense, stressful mealtime environment will not help your children develop a positive relationship with food. Some rules for maintaining order, such as not shouting or throwing food, are necessary. Finer manners are easier to learn by example than by force.
Your child wants to act and will try to imitate you. Young children may be naughty while eating because they are bored. Include your little one in the conversation so he feels like part of the family. This is a great time for your child to increase their vocabulary.