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Is Your Toddler A Picky Eater?

Nov 4, 2007
When children transition from a being fed by parents to feeding themselves, many toddlers find this is the right time to start exploring their newly found independence. Before, the toddlers had little choice about what they ate. They ate what was provided through the bottle or breast and then from the spoon mom or dad held. The only recourse they had if they didn't like something was to spit it out. As children gain the ability to feed themselves, many toddlers start refusing to eat some foods, which can cause a lot of frustration for parents.

If your toddler is beginning to be fussy about foods, don't worry too much. Yes, you need to be concerned about your child's eating habits. No, your child should not eat doughnuts and ice cream every meal of the day, but if your child doesn't like spinach, it really is not a problem.

What parents of toddlers need to realize is that their child will usually eat a balanced diet over the course of each week. Instead of focusing on each meal of each day, you need to look at what your toddler has eaten over the entire week. You will likely find that he eats a very balanced diet.

Parents of fussy eaters need to offer new foods, even if they are certain the child will reject the food. You can offer a new food a few times a week and eventually the child will taste it. Studies indicate that you may have to introduce the food as many as 15 times before the child will try it. You will waste food, but that is a normal part of life with a toddler.

Toddlers sometimes go on binges where they eat only one food constantly. This is often distressing for parents because they wonder if their child is getting enough nutrition. What can also be frustrating is that parents stock up on this particular food, only to find that after a couple of days the child will not eat it. While this behavior is frustrating, it is important to realize that it is completely normal. This is part of the way your toddler is showing that he is developing some independence.

One thing you can do if you are concerned about the nutrition your child is receiving is to give him a vitamin every day. Talk to your pediatrician before you start this. Many children do not need to have vitamins.

A good indication of whether or not your child is eating enough is his development. If he is developing properly and growing as he should, he is likely getting enough to eat. Unlike infancy, during the toddler months your child does not need a huge caloric intake because his growth has slowed down tremendously.

Finally, even though it is difficult, you need to limit the amount of snacking that you allow. He will be tempted to refuse to eat what you offer him for dinner only to fill up on cheerios and crackers later. You need to limit snacking to specific times, usually two snacks per day. This will encourage your toddler to eat when it is dinnertime. Remember, he will not starve if he skips a meal or two. Teaching him while he is young to eat the food you prepare for the family is crucial to having good eating habits later on.
About the Author
Find helpful and creative ideas for parents and grandparents while you shop our great selection of kids furniture (including our popular toddler beds) and classic toys. Visit www.TheMagicalRockingHorse.com today!
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