Is your child a picky eater? Try these tips during your child’s next meal time.
WORDS NURULHUDA SUHAIMI
No, I don’t Want this – I don’t Want that Either
If your toddler is a picky eater, you’re not alone – this is a phase most toddlers go through. “Between two to five years old, it is normal for a child’s appetite to decrease compared to the initial two years, where growth is much more accelerated,” says Dr Christelle Tan, specialist in Paediatrics – Raffles Specialists, Raffles Holland V.
If your toddler is fussy with his food, let him self-feed instead of you feeding him.
The opportunity to be independent might encourage your toddler to eat,
and it will also allow him to explore his food,
which might make him more interested in what he is eating.
Make sure your toddler is actually hungry during mealtimes too, so he will less likely reject his food. Do this by allowing him to get active and play; this will let him work up an appetite by the time the next meal comes around. But make sure your toddler has the chance to wind down before his meal – being too tired might end up making him lose his appetite instead.
If your toddler is being picky with his food, your solution might be to force him to eat it, but this is one thing you definitely shouldn’t do. “Force feeding will make the whole mealtime very stressful and unpleasant for your child and will only strengthen his/her dislike for mealtimes,” explains Dr Tan, “If he/she refuses to eat, remove the food and serve it at the next mealtime.”
My Toddler’s Appetite Keeps Changing!
Your toddler gobbles up everything during his mealtimes one day, and the next, he barely eats a thing. Random changes in appetite is a worry for parents, but Graham ensures this is normal. “Toddlers can have good and bad days, but over time they even out. Do not panic,” she advises, “If food is refused at a meal or snack, wait until the next scheduled meal or snack to offer more (to allow the child to become familiar with hunger and satiety cues).”
Changes in appetite might also indicate other underlying
reasons such as illnesses like the common cold or stomach flu.
If this is the reason for your toddler’s change in appetite, Dr Tan recommends ensuring your toddler stays hydrated while he is ill, and encourage him to drink even if he has no appetite to eat.