How to get your toddler to eat?
Different Forms of Pressure:
Pressuring doesn’t work!
- Eating no longer becomes an enjoyable experience. Your child can develop negative associations with the food and learn to dislike or avoid the food altogether. I always like to encourage parents to draw from their own experiences.
Perhaps you were forced to eat a certain food(s) growing up. What are your feelings towards that food now? Maybe you’ve learned to enjoy it over the years. Maybe not. But something tells me those negative memories surrounding the food haven’t been completely erased from your mind
In fact, according to this retrospective study, college students who remembered being pressured to eat as kids continue to dislike the foods that their parents forced them to eat. Furthermore, they reported that given the choice, they would avoid these foods today.
- Your use of pressure can undermine your child’s innate ability to self-regulate their food intake. They may ignore their hunger and fullness cues and eat more to earn your approval. Even though their body and brain are telling them that they’re full, they won’t stop until their plate is cleaned.
Again, if you were forced to clean your plate as a child, you can probably relate to this. On the flip side, they may eat less than what they’re hungry for in defiance and further fuel their picky eating.
- Your child will learn to use food as a means of asserting their independence, which will only promote mealtime battles.
Why you shouldn’t praise your child
What should you do instead of pressuring?
For more tips, check out these posts:
- Is my toddler turning into a picky eater?
- Help! My toddler won’t eat!
- What to do when your child won’t eat dinner
- My child only wants snacks
- How to help your underweight child