Dining Dramas: Toddler Feeding Problems, Solved

Common Mealtime Mistakes

Committing these common food felonies makes it harder to raise a healthy eater.

  • Holding dessert hostage. If you use cake as a reward for eating cauliflower, your toddler learns that dessert must be way better than veggies -- and that's all she'll want.
  • Discussing your diet. You know your toddler loves copying you, so do you really want him to start obsessing over calories and fat grams?
  • Not including your child in the conversation. If your toddler has your attention and feels like he belongs, he'll develop social skills and table manners faster.
  • Bargaining. You say, "Just take three bites, then you can watch Dora." Your child will ask, "How big a bite?" and boom -- you're trapped in a never-ending negotiation. Instead, offer choices so your child feels some sense of control: Do you want an apple or a pear? Peas or carrots?
  • Leaving the TV on. Kids need to focus on their food -- not the tube.

Copyright © 2008. Used with permission from the March 2008 issue of Parents magazine.

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