Children falling in the age bracket of 1 to 3 years old are gaining their independence. They feel unrestricted and free. No wonder why they spend most of their time exploring. They want to see things and discover more things. All things the world has to offer keep them pretty much interested. Sitting down to eat is just a plain waste of their time.
Why eat when they can spend that time exploring the world more. As a parent, no need to panic. This is particularly normal among children falling in this age bracket. Breathe in, breathe out. Stay calm. Yes, it’s pretty normal and challenging to have to experience putting one spoonful of food into their mouth when all your child wants to do is catch some butterflies.
Before you take some action, make sure that you assess if your child’s feeding problem is associated with certain health issues. Is your child playful? Does your child have fever? Do you see something unusual in them such as having blood-shot eyes or rashes? Does your child look pale? You should ask all of these questions and address them before you put the blame on low appetite as part of the child’s normal growth development.
Though the parent or guardian will be the one to decide what food must be offered and when they must be offered, the child will always the boss. It is still up to them how much they eat and what food they should eat from the food options that you give them. During this stage, your child is already well aware if they are full or hungry. If they are hungry, they will eat. If they are not, you better get out before things go ugly. As a parent, you just have to make sure to put their food in places that are within their reach so that they can just help themselves when hunger comes to them.
If you feed your child, just offer them small amounts of food. Your child will take a glimpse of your plate once and see food in small amount, they might as well decide to get it over with in the moment. Consuming small amounts of food might not be that difficult for them. They will feel as if they can just eat it faster than normal. It is a good strategy to actually let them ask you for more food.
It is also a good idea to play some music in the background or engage them in a conversation while feeding them so that they will not really take notice of the current task at hand and unexpectedly achieve it. As topics of conversation, talk about anything but not the food that you have prepared right in front of them. You can ask them about your family pet or about their friends. You can even talk about the weather. Just anything really that gets their minds off of the feeding task itself.
Make their food more appealing and interesting by making art work out of their them. You can also give them a spoon and let them do the feeding themselves. This allows them to be independent. And later on, you will find your child to grow more excited during meal times so that they can eat just like the big people do.
Finally, make sure to eat together as one family. Sit your child at the table with all members of the family and set aside a place for them and some food in it. Though it might be very messy but at least some will end up inside of their tummies. You can also let them eat from their mom’s plate. Also, you can serve their food using the regular family plates that you use.