Although it can be frustrating, it’s a normal part of toddler development.
A helpful approach is for you to decide what food to offer your child, and where and when to offer it. It’s up to your child to decide how much food to eat.
There are a few reasons for this:
- ☢Toddlers’ appetites vary constantly because of growth spurts and variations in activity.
- ☢Toddlers aren’t growing as fast as babies, so they need less food.
- ☢Toddlers have very small stomachs.
- Because toddlers are so interested in the world around them, they have short attention spans when it comes to food.
- Toddlers want to push boundaries and show how independent they can be.
- Liking a food one day and refusing it the next is common toddler behaviour. It’s one of the ways that toddlers show how independent they are. It can help to think of it this way: you provide healthy food options for your child, and your child decides how much food he’ll eat – or not eat.
Appetite ups and downs :
- If your toddler won’t eat or won’t eat whole meals, you could try reducing the amount you’re giving her to eat. It’s normal for toddlers to need only small servings at mealtimes.
- Also, avoid trying to force your child to finish everything on the plate, because this can make mealtimes stressful. Instead, praise your toddler for trying a spoonful or having a sip of water, if that’s all he wants.
- At regular times between meals, you can offer your child healthy snacks like fruit or vegetable sticks. This should keep her going if she’s eating only small amounts at main meals.
- If your toddler is healthy and has enough energy to play, learn and explore, he’s probably eating enough.
- As long as you offer healthy food, try not to worry if your child doesn’t eat very much sometimes. Your child won’t starve. Children are actually very good at judging how much food they need.
If your child consistently refuses food or you’re concerned about your child’s growth or overall nutrition, check with your GP or child and family health practitioner.