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5 Tips for Parents of Picky Eaters

Do you feel accomplished whenever your toddler’s food lands in his cute mouth every meal? If yes, then you are a certified parent of a picky-eater. Most toddlers undergo this phase in between 2-4 years old. This is the period when a toddler is suddenly aware of his or her surroundings. This is the most curious and inquisitive stage thus he takes great interest in anything. This distraction is one of the causes of his waning interest in eating. In addition, now that he is capable of speaking his mind, he realizes that he can say yes and most often say no to things he doesn’t particularly like.


Having a toddler whose preference for food changes without pattern can be very daunting and challenging. If you have used up all your methods and the success rate is still low, try again using the following techniques:

1.       Give them plenty of options

You may find this hard to believe but your toddler, no matter how small he seems, wants to be in control. Putting a food in front of him may get him in a defensive mode and tell you he doesn’t like it. The trick is to give him options. Prepare little servings of two different meals every time. Ask your toddler whether he likes this or that. He will most likely choose one. When you give him the power to choose, he will feel empowered and will most probably do whatever you say next.

2.       Use your most gentle voice

Try to think of it as taming a wild animal for the first time. A toddler’s response will depend on your tone of voice. Telling him nicely to eat his food will make him feel easy and may reap good results. Being calm will also take the pressure from you and your toddler. Meal times must be enjoyed. It must be looked forward as a pleasant activity at all times.

3.       Feed one spoon at a time

Fussy eaters - SLIDER

As a parent, be prepared that meal time with a toddler is not confined to a schedule. Sometimes it can take as long as an hour.  Toddlers do not like to be rushed. One spoon at a time for an hour is better than just five spoonfuls given at a normal interval. When there is space between feeding, he will not be mindful of how plenty he has eaten already. Remember that the ultimate goal is for your child to swallow food that will keep him nourished amidst his activities. Be flexible with your schedule so that you will not feel frustrated with the duration of your toddler’s meal time.

4.       Give them their favorites once in a while


These toddlers usually have a favorite snack for the week. Sometimes it’s healthy like orange fruit or raisin bread; other times it’s what society refers to as junk food, like French fries or ice cream. Some toddlers like to negotiate – one spoon of rice after every bite from the orange or French fries. Take this negotiation to your advantage. This will mean your toddler will eat his meal as long as you feed him bits of his requested food. This is a win-win situation for you and your toddler.

5.       Offer words of encouragement


Toddlers are also in the phase of feeling good whenever they have pleased their parents. Saying “Good job!” and “I’m so happy you are eating!” every after spoonful will definitely encourage your child to eat more. Be energetic and enthusiastic in telling these to your child. Hearing positive comments will definitely motivate your young one to continue eating. There is no such thing as over-doing it when it comes to your child’s eating habits!


Children do not come with a handbook. As parents of toddlers, you must be reminded that whatever you do to your child in his formative years will greatly impact his character. Toddlers are a bit difficult and exhausting to handle. A long stretch of patience and energy are needed to keep up with their growing needs – physically and emotionally. A right perspective in feeding your child will make meal times precious and memorable. Be excited in trying out strategies in getting your toddler to eat. Soon enough, your child will be able to eat without your intervention. Remember, this is just a toddler phase. Enjoy it while it lasts!