7 common mistakes that parents make while inculcating eating habits in their toddlers
Toddlers are developing their sense of direction, communication skills, and self-control. They don't have control over much, but eating is one of the first areas where they will. As a parent, we understand your major concern of teaching the right food habits to your children. You can steer your child toward healthy eating but in a smart way.
We have compiled the list below using suggestions from top dieticians and nutritionists for kids. Use these suggestions to make mealtime productive but hassle-free for you and your children. And yes, mealtimes with kids won't be so incredibly challenging anymore!
7 common feeding mistakes many parents make.
Parents must provide the nutrition that an active toddler needs. The parent's job is to provide a child with nutritious food options and allow them to choose which ones to consume or not. Toddlers can be encouraged to eat well by their parents, although it may require some skill.
Let us understand several mistakes made by parents while feeding their toddlers and rectify them by teaching the following tips, which are discussed as follows:
1.Forcing them to eat everything on plates:
Is it necessary for your children to clear their plates? While it is a good practice not to waste food, making kids eat is not good. Long-term, this impacts their capacity to recognize hunger signals from their body. Children forced to eat don't recognize when they are full, which can lead to obesity.
Pro tip: You should closely monitor your child's food intake and any signs of hunger. Everybody has bad appetite days occasionally. If he becomes hungry again after a meal, it is OK to eat. Additionally, leftover meals can be eaten later or used for lunch the following day.
2. Bribing them with food-based rewards
We are pretty sure several parents must have used this tactic: 'If you finish this meal, you will get a chocolate. It is one of the most prevalent tactics used by several parents, which will teach a wrong impression on the children's minds. Food-based rewards inculcate wrong food habits and impressions, which will cause severe difficulty in the later stages.
You might be tempted to promise a piece of cake later if you sleep soundly this afternoon. It may seem like a harmless tactic, but a toddler's developing brain cannot handle it. They'll start looking for rewards for every small 'job' they do and eventually start to like junk food at an early age.
Pro tip: Say a permanent goodbye to food-based rewards. Use logical arguments, such as "if you don't eat this, you'll not be strong enough to play ball with your friend". Always works!
3. Pressuring your child
Have you ever wondered why children hesitate to attempt new things? It is described as "food neophobia" or a natural need to stay safe. So, should parents make their kids consume unfamiliar foods? No, no! According to research, pressuring children can lead to a lasting, lifelong aversion that they might never overcome.
Your child would face several difficulties and be unable to survive anywhere if inculcated with such poor food habits. Trying too hard to persuade your child by being forceful is a dangerous parenting tactic.
Pro tip: Communicate to children that you will pick what will be offered when introducing them to new foods. However, kids can choose if and how much they wish to consume.
4. Giving up on new foods too soon
Too many parents offer junk foods to their toddlers because they eat without complaints. However, it would be best if you never gave up on trying new foods with your kids, as it will help them, shortly, to get adapted to new taste buds. Look for signs that your child is sneaking on food items, watching you eat, and finishing everything given to them on their plate. Please don't give them snacks or other junk items that would make them full before dinner.
How can presentation make any difference to the taste of a boring cabbage, spinach, or bottle gourd? Well, it does in a kid's head! Your child's appetite may be significantly impacted by simple meals that are boring, unpalatable, and difficult to finish. Try to serve meals in an interesting way that can help them look more tasty and appetizing for toddlers.
Pro tip: Make the effort to jazz up your food presentation, even though it takes time. Add grapefruit eyes, fun straws, and the occasional low-fat-cheese strips. Or try these lunches with a Disney or any other exciting theme.
5. Serving the big portion sizes
We occasionally forget that children are small and require child-size meals, which equate to one tablespoon each year of life in our nation of super-sized servings. It is vital to understand that toddlers need healthy and nutritious food, not large portions, which would fill their stomachs, yet won't be adequate to meet their nutritional needs.
Toddlers and preschoolers typically require three complete meals and two snacks each day. You're set as long as this is done, and your child doesn't grow hungry in between. Children who see large serving portions may feel intimidated and stop eating even intermediate portions.
Pro tip: To ensure that your child receives a balanced diet that he can complete, think about making sections on his plate. It is preferable to serve two tiny portions to a child than one enormous one.
6. Overemphasize neatness
It is one of the frequent mistakes made by parents that can cause a deep impression on the mental growth of kids. It can be intimidating or overwhelming if the parents emphasize neatness more, which can have a great impact on the mental growth of the child.
A new eater who is never allowed to play with food won't enjoy it as much as one who knows the fun of smearing bananas and crumbling crackers.
It's wise to understand toddlers' messy mealtimes, make them comfortable with their way of eating, and teach them more food mannerisms.
Pro tip: Meal times can be challenging; however, it is vital to make your kids comfortable with their ways of eating and make them imbibe the right habits. As long as your kids are ready to try new food items and enhance their nutrition, it is fine to be messy.
7. Overdoing juice and unhealthy snacks:
Snacks are children's closest companions in the evenings after playtime, during a particularly boring class, or while watching TV. But they could also be why they are not hungry at the dinner table.
Providing adequate nutrition and portions that would be right for their appetite is vital. Rewarding them with juice and unhealthy snacks won't help in the long run.
Some kids munch on cookies, crackers, and other snacks all day, sipping endless juice boxes. Because children fill up on the wrong foods and aren't hungry for healthier options when it's time to eat regular meals, neither practice promotes good eating.
Make snacking a ritual by providing some healthy options at certain times of the day. Limit their daily juice intake to six ounces.
- Don't serve snacks too soon after supper.
- Restrict them to an hour before dinner.
- Avoid processed, sugary foods and carbonated beverages as well because they make your kids feel bloated and decrease their appetite.
- Don't focus much on how much they are eating.
- Avoid making mealtimes a battle.
- Pay close attention to establishing healthy eating practices, including sitting together as a family.
- Put your family's health as a priority when choosing food.
Please don't fret if you have already begun some of these habits; we hope this information will empower you to make some changes that will lay the groundwork for good eating habits throughout your child's life. You can check some feeding bottles offered at 1st Step, which can make your routine effortless and help teach the right food habits from your kids' childhood. Click here for more information.