How to deal with a toddler who is a picky eater.

Hi Fahima,

I’m a first time mom and I have heard a lot stories of picky eaters toddlers but I didn’t expect it to be this bad. I have a 14 month old that just seems to not eat her food. I’m beyond frustrated and the thought of meal time just gives me a lot of anxiety. I find myself shouting at my child when she doesn’t even eat the food that she likes . What are some tips you can give me to deal with meal time and my emotions ?

Sincerely,

A frustrated mom

Hello frustrated mom,

I can relate to you being a mom myself. I went through the same thing with both of my boys. My advice to you is to do the following, as these tips worked for me. 1. Feed your child a variety of foods so they have different options to choose from. 2. Each day introduce a new food, so you know what they like and don’t like. 3. Structure your childs meal time, have 3 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and snacks in between. Don’t feed your child before meal times, so they have an appetite when it comes time to eat.

In terms of controlling your emotions. I would suggest putting your child in the high chair and for you to walk away, take a deep breather, collect yourself and come back when you are calm. Just as children need time out, parents and caregivers also need a time out. I would refrain from shouting at a toddler because children mirror our behaviors, you are teaching your child to shout when they are frustrated. And this is not something you want to teach them. You want to create a calm environment, shouting will not fix the problem and it is harmful to your child. They become frightened, anxious and they will be more prone to yell in the future. With that being said I understand we are all humans and parenting comes with it’s challenges and frustrations. That’s why we often have to reflect on our behaviours, is it harmful to our child, how can we change and are we able to find a better solution. You were able to identify your issue and seeked some advice. Therefore I commend you. I hope my advice helps and I want to wish you the best of luck.

Love,

Fahima

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