Toddler & Parents








Characteristics of the Toddler

Feeding The Toddler

Appropriate Foods and Amounts

Guide for Appropriate Serving Sizes




Feeding The Toddler

Do your job as a parent by maintaining indirect controls on feeding; by setting limits and sticking to them. Don't get in the way of areas where the child can safely make her own choices. Observe a clear "Division of Responsibility in Feeding Children". Parents are responsible for what is presented to eat and the manner in which it is presented. The parent is not responsible for how much the child eats, whether he eats and how his or her body turns out.

Only fight battles you can win. You can stop a toddler from doing what you don't want her to do, but you can't get her to do what you want her to do. You can get her to come to the table, but you can't make her eat.

In order to resolve feeding problems with toddlers, parents must first resolve their own hang ups about food. And they must agree on feeding issues. This is true of two parent families, parents and grandparents and/or parents and caregivers.

Simple things to make mealtimes better:

  • Have regular meals and snacks.

  • Feed a toddler every 2 to 3 hours.

  • Snacks should be planned, not just handouts.

  • A good snack contains 2 of the 5 food groups.

  • At least some of the meals should include everyone in the household as a family meal.

  • Turn off the TV so everyone can pay attention to each other at meal time.

  • Don't allow toys or other distractions at the table - keep the meal social.

  • Respect a child's speed at meals.

  • Sit at the table with your toddler as he eats.

  • Talk and pay attention to your child, but don't overwhelm her with attention.

  • Enjoy your own meals and help your toddler enjoy mealtimes with you.

Ellyn Satter is a child psychologist and pediatric dietitian. Here is her credo on feeding children: "Division of Responsibility in Feeding Children" Parents are responsible for what is presented to eat and the manner in which it is presented.

Parents are responsible for:

  • Selecting and buying foods
  • Making and presenting meals
  • Regulating timing of meals and snacks
  • Presenting food in a form a child can handle
  • Allowing eating methods a child can master
  • Making family mealtimes pleasant
  • Helping the child to participate in family meals
  • Helping the child to attend to his eating.
  • Maintaining standards of behavior at the table

The parent is not responsible for:

  • How much a child eats
  • Whether he eats
  • How his or her body turns out

The information in this section is based on:
How to Get Your Kid to Eat ... But Not too Much
by Ellyn Satter, Bull Publishing