Get Your Toddler to Eat Well
There are so many things to keep in mind when you are a parent and one of them is your child’s needs. Children, especially babies and toddlers, are not aware of hunger and sleep and it is up to the parents to decide how this is all going to work out. Too often, we try to pacify our children with foods that they are familiar and comfortable with and this leads to them experiencing less diversity at an early yet crucial age. Nutrition, meal times and food preferences can be approached holistically and you can always work with your toddler to get this balance right. Here are a few things you can consider for your toddler’s nutrition and eating habits.
A Schedule is a Great Place to Start
Children are unable to tell you they are hungry until it is too late! That is something that parents must take for granted. A reasonable assumption to make is that children need to eat every 3-4 hours, so this must be broken up into 3 meals, perhaps 2 snacks and lots of water, juice and fluids. It’s always a good idea to keep snacks stored in the car or any other place where you and your child spend time together to avoid any crankiness due to hunger. Children are also creatures of habit so sticking to this routine would be very valuable as well. Planning simple meals, a couple of days in advance is also a good idea to save time and mental energy.
Eat Together as a Family
Aside from planning the dinner, it is important that you eat together as a family as often as possible. You shouldn’t feel the need to turn into a cook that takes requests for your children but make more meals that the whole family can enjoy together. Children always mimic their parents, so you will always be a role model for them, even when it comes to eating. If they see you enjoying a delicious and healthy meal, it is likely that they will attempt to do the same! Show your child how to eat well and you’ll solve many issues along the way.
Make Them a Part of the Process
While it is important for you to as the parent to decide what kids should eat, you should also involve your child in food-related activities. Here are few things you can do to engage them in this process:
- Let them shop with you and show them what foods you are going to buy for meals
- Encourage them to help you in the kitchen, maybe washing vegetables or other simple tasks
- Tell them how tasty and nutritious all the food is
When kids learn about how food is made and how they can contribute by cooking with you, they tend to appreciate and eat the food more often than not. These moments have a major impact on any child and you will find that many successful people or even chefs for that matter point out their love or appreciation of food with spending time with parents or loved ones in the kitchen.
Introduce New Foods Slowly
Children are not open to experimenting with food. They like to stick with things that they know. One way to change their minds about something is to point out that their peers, whether they are schoolmates, friends or other figures in the media that they consume, also eat new foods. Children are definitely influenced by what other children are doing and if you show them that their peers enjoy something, they are likely to try it at the very least. When you introduce a new food and your child attempts to eat it, it is important to positively reinforce the experience and praise your child for eating this food. If you apply these principles to day-to-day life, you are going to be able to influence your child’s eating habits in a positively and wholesome way.