How well does your toddler eat? It is still a work in progress for us in our home, and I am taking it day by day. I capture each moment when he eats, enjoys the food, and feeds himself, just like the video above.
Three Lessons from feeding a Toddler:
Don’t stress out when he is not eating.
Your toddler does not want to eat the food you prepared for hours? I could relate. After many tries, I gave up. I gave up on forcing him to feed the food which I wanted him to eat. Instead, I let him choose whatever food he wanted to put in his mouth. The key here is to give him options. I place varieties of food on his plate, sit him on the table for him to see us eat, and let him be. Suppose he eats the food on his plate, then good. If not, then I remove his plate and try again on our next meal. Stressing out over my kid not eating will not do me any good. I would only get mad at him, or even worst, say things I should not. So, I let it be.
Teach by example. My little one learned to use a spoon by watching us, even though all the food ends up on the floor most of the time. He tries to feed himself and is even proud of it when he does. Watching him put the spoon in his mouth puts a smile on my face. No forcing, no getting mad, and no shouting. Letting him be, and letting him learn, is my go-to. Of course, we still give him milk to compensate for the nutrients he needs.
Watch out for Cues.
“Does he like the food? Does he not?” were the questions I ask myself. My kid tells me upfront if he does not like the food by saying “Ayaw mo ,” but when he does, he will not stop eating the food until finished. That is when I know he likes a particular food. Kids are smart, and they will tell you if they want something or not, listen or watch for cues.
Right now, my kid loves to eat “sabaw” or soup. Every day, he would ask, “Mommy, drink sabaw”. We even created a song to encourage him, “Drink sabaw, drink sabaw, drink drink sabaw sabaw” hahaha.
Let him play.
Do not play with food, they say, but for a toddler, everything is play, including mealtime. It is their way to learn and explore their surroundings. He brushes his rice with his hand, wiping the floor with his palm and throwing everything away from his plate. Refer to Lesson #1—don’ stress out.
What I do is I look at him in the eye and say “eat please” or “put in your mouth,” and I show him how to do it. Again, teach by example. Toddlers need patience, love, and time to learn something, but they will not forget it when they do. My kid is like that. It takes time, but once he does, he does it over and over.
If he wants to play, I let him play and explore his surroundings, including the food I give him. There are days when I feed him myself because I do not want him to waste any of the food served, and I make sure he drinks his milk so he would not get hungry. Other times, I remove his plate when he is not eating to teach him food is not for play.
A toddler learning something takes time, effort, and love from a mother. It is still a day to day learning experience for us, and I make sure I capture each moment.
How well does your toddler eat?