6 toddler mealtime problems: How you can solve them

August 05, 2020
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    Does your young child leave the table and wander around during meal times, or want to be fed most of the time? Here’s how you can solve these common problems.

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  • He creates a huge mess. There's more food on the floor than in his mouth!
    2 / 7 He creates a huge mess. There's more food on the floor than in his mouth!

    As your little one learns to feed himself, expect the food to go everywhere  not just into his mouth – because his coordination isn’t fully developed. 

    Be patient. Clean up the mess without reprimanding him or complaining.

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  • He leaves the table and wanders around, instead of sitting still
    3 / 7 He leaves the table and wanders around, instead of sitting still

    Make each meal an enjoyable experience. If eating is fun and pleasurable, your toddler will sit happily at the table without wanting to get out of his seat. Create a relaxed atmosphere; sit beside him and chat with him while he eats on his own.

    (Also read: How to discipline your baby: 10 golden rules that work)

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  • He takes forever to finish his meal
    4 / 7 He takes forever to finish his meal

    Stop the meal after a fixed time. To ensure that self-feeding does not become a lengthy play activity, remove his plate after a reasonable time (say, 15 minutes) and warn him in advance when that time limit approaches. This discourages him from wasting time.

    (Also read: Why babies under one year old should not drink fruit juice at all)

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  • He is a picky eater and skips his vegetables
    5 / 7 He is a picky eater and skips his vegetables

    Give him small amounts of food on a large plate. Your young child may be put off by large mounds of food on his plate – it may seem overwhelming to him.  Also, get him used to the taste of vegetables by mixing them up with food that you know he likes.

    (Also read: Toddler doesn’t like to drink water: What to do)

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  • He struggles to hold the spoon or fork firmly in his hand
    6 / 7 He struggles to hold the spoon or fork firmly in his hand

    Keep cutlery child-friendly. Your child’s hand is small, so give him a spoon with a handle that is appropriately sized and shaped for those little fingers to grasp. Show him how to grip the handle properly.

    (Also read: Are you overfeeding your baby?)

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  • He continues to want you to feed him
    7 / 7 He continues to want you to feed him

    As his hand control improves, reduce your direct involvement. Encourage him to hold the spoon on his own, even if he asks for your help. Get the grandparents and domestic helper not to give in, too. The more he manages by himself, the less he’ll need you to help.

    (Photos: 123RF.com)

    (Also read: How to use time-out on toddler)

     

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