Fussy eating is common in toddlers and young children. It is a must for parents to handle this issue patiently. Read on to find tips for coping with fussy eating in toddlers.
Dealing with a toddler who is a fussy eater can be really frustrating. Instead of losing our cool and getting angry with the child and ourselves it is best to take a deep breath, relax and remember that this is a normal phase which most toddlers will outgrow after some time.
Most toddlers demand and eat enough calories to meet their body requirements. Forcing or compelling a child to eat more than what she is willing to almost never works. If a child eats less during one meal she is bound to make it up by demanding and eating more during the subsequent meals. Although, the responsibility of ensuring that the child eats nutritious food rests with the caregivers, the kid herself should be respected and allowed to choose the quantity of food she requires.
How to Manage Fussy Eating in Toddlers
While dealing with fussy eating
problem in toddlers
here are a few things you must avoid:
Never Rush a Meal
Rushing a meal reduces the appetite of a child. Some toddlers naturally eat much slowly than others. Hence, the caregivers must learn to be patient and let the child eat at her own pace.
Have Meals Together
Get your child to eat family meals as far as possible. Never offer options for a refused meal. By offering options you are effectively letting the toddler decide what she will eat during each meal time. Bear in mind the likes and dislikes of the toddler while planning the meals. If a child refuses to eat the meal prepared for her, rather than offering other different foods it is better to let her remain hungry.
Avoid Forcing the Child
Do not force a child to finish her meal every time. Many parents make it a habit of offering rewards for finishing meals. There is no point in stuffing a child with food which does not require. It will make her throw it up later.
Having liquids like milk or juices within an hour of a meal tends to reduce the appetite. Substitute these drinks with water instead. Similarly, offering snack just before mealtime will satisfy hunger to a large extent. As a result a child may refuse the meal altogether or have a reduced portion as compared to her normal quantity.
Sometimes caregivers do not take a toddler seriously when she says that she is already full. In our enthusiasm to feed the child we keep forcing her to eat. This is one of the most common causes for a toddler becoming fussy about eating. Caregivers must understand that most of the times toddlers tell the truth when they claim that they are full. Here are a few signs to look out for which will confirm that a child is full:
- When she keeps her mouth shut when offered food
- Repeatedly refuses food which she is offered
- Turns her head away or pushes away food being offered
- Refuses to swallow or spits out food
When to Consult a Doctor?
Unless a child suffers from any medical condition, there is no reason to consult a doctor about eating habits. If a toddler eats a reasonable amount of food, is otherwise healthy and maintains body weight appropriate for her age there is no reason to worry. This temporary phase of difficult eating and will pass over a period of time.
Never feel guilty if a mealtime turns out to be a disaster. There may be days when you may lose your cool with your fussy toddler and regret it later. It is best to forget these incidents and move on without feeling guilty.