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

Do these things happen during your child’s mealtimes?

Parents use many methods to feed their children, so that they would eat more. These methods may cause mealtime problems rather than helping children to develop good eating habits.

Pitfall 1: Feeding your child when she has just woken up or is playing excitedly.

  • Possible outcome: When children are not yet ready to eat, they will throw a tantrum and refuse to eat.
  • Suggestion to parent: Set some routine activities with your child 10 minutes before the meals to prepare her for eating.

Pitfall 2: Your child usually eats or is fed alone.

  • Possible outcome: Eating alone reduces appetite. It is harder for her to adapt to eating a variety of foods.
  • Suggestion to parent: Plan and make arrangements so that she can eat with you or other caregivers.

Pitfall 3: Giving your child a snack or milk very soon after a poorly eaten meal.

  • Possible outcome: Your child will learn that "If I refuse to eat the meal, I can have the food I like." She will get more fussy during mealtimes.
  • Suggestion to parent: Provide a choice of 2 to 3 dishes on the dining table; if needed, offer the snack slightly earlier.

Pitfall 4: Giving your child toys to play with and following your child around to feed her.

  • Possible outcome: This teaches your child that playing or running while eating is the right thing to do during mealtimes. She may also overeat.
  • Suggestion to parent: Seat her on the chair to eat. Stop feeding when she indicates that she is full.

Pitfall 5: Offering your child only her preferred foods.

  • Possible outcome: Lack of choices to try other foods will turn her into a picky eater.
  • Suggestion to parent: Include both foods that she likes and dislikes in her meal.
(Content revised 08/2017)