Healthy Eating for 6 to 24 month old children (3) Ready to go (12- 24 months)

Developing proper mealtime behaviour

Children love parents' attention. When your child behaves well, give her your attention and praise her right away.

Praise your child as she behaves well

  • Smile at her, pat her nicely or raise your thumb when she cooperates, such as when she sits properly on her chair, or tries a new food;
  • Let her know what she did well, such as saying "You sit down and eat nicely! This is lovely!", rather than "You are not running around today".

When your child misbehaves

  • Find out if she has already eaten enough;
  • For minor misbehaviours, such as crying, playing with food or spoons, or other attention-seeking behaviours, it is best to use the "planned ignoring" strategy.

Planned ignoring

  • Step 1: Make sure she is safe;
  • Step 2: Do not give her any attention;
    • Note: When she receives no response from you, her behaviour may get worse initially. If you persist, she will stop as she learns that such behaviour cannot draw your attention.
  • Step 3: As soon as she stops the misbehaviour, attend to her right away. Direct her attention to the meal again;
  • Step 4: When she is cooperative and continues to eat, praise her.
  • By following these steps, your child will understand that she cannot gain your attention with tantrums.

Tips from Psychologist:

Reacting to your child's misbehaviour by shouting at her or wiping her face makes her more likely to misbehave to get your attention. All family members should handle the child's misbehaviours in the same way.

Parenting Leaflet (8) - "Discipline Your Toddler in a Positive Way" gives you more tips on managing toddlers' behaviours.

(Content revised 08/2017)