From your first ultrasound or first kick you start dreaming of your future perfect family life. A happy family sitting at a table, passing around a bowl of vegetables, a juicy roast chicken sits in the middle of the table. Unfortunately the reality is you probably have a crying toddler who won’t eat!
So what do you do if your toddler suddenly starts being fussy and refuses the foods you give them?
Well don’t stress, it is perfectly normal for toddlers to go through their ‘fussy eating phase’ at some stage but just remember that it won’t last forever and once you come out the other side you will have those perfect family meal moments! Here are some things you can do to help manage fussy eating:
- Encourage and praise your little one when they finish a meal or try a new food
- Allow your little one to help in the kitchen – children tend to eat more if they are allowed to serve themselves or help prepare the meal (give them simple and safe jobs like mixing the salad around, putting the napkins out or choosing their favourite veg from the vegetable drawer)
- Make meal times more fun using colourful plates, having a picnic (even an indoor picnic), or having dinner outside (on those rare summer days!)
- Remove uneaten food without comment – don’t make a fuss
- Eat as a family as often as you can so that they can learn and copy from others
- Stay calm – even in the face of those terrible toddler tantrums!
- Bribe your child to eat with sweets or the promise of dessert
- Make them finish their entire plate – allow your little one to decide when he/she is full
- Offer alternatives if your little one refuses to eat a meal – they will know they can always get what they want if you keep giving it to them
- Let your child hear you talking about how fussy they are
- Give your toddler too many drinks throughout the day. Too much liquid can fill toddler’s up and they will not be hungry for their meals. So try not to give them a drink 30 minutes before a meal.
Thankfully most toddlers grow out of their fussy eating phase and normal mealtimes are eventually restored!
For more information on how to deal with fussy eating call our free phone careline at 1800 570 570.