How to handle children in the “terrible twos phase” when they don’t eat
Many mothers get worried when their child doesn’t eat. Many children dislike eating when they enter the “terrible twos phase”. It is hard for parents to eat 3 times a day (morning, noon and night). Although many mothers try to encourage their child to eat calmly at first, they often end up getting frustrated and angry which causes their child to dislike them and avoid eating even more. We will introduce tips for handling children who do not eat below.
How to handle children who do not eat during the “terrible twos phase”
Pay attention to the appearance and how easy the food is to eat
First, try cutting the food into bite size pieces so it is easier for your child to eat. Some children don’t want to eat because they have trouble using the spoon or fork correctly. If this is the case, it is best to cut foods into bite sized pieces and make rice balls so your child can eat with his/her hands. This will make it easier for him/her to grab the food. Also, if the food on the plate is colorful your child will show more interest in eating it. It should compete with the toy your child was playing with before eating. Using a colorful luncheon mat or plate is also effective.
Create a fun eating environment
During meal time, children often observe their parents carefully. It is important that you are enjoying the meal and having fun. Parents should use phrases like “it looks delicious!”, “I want to eat right away!”, “I want to eat a lot!”. It is effective if you talk to your child and say things like “today I made your favorite food”, “I am sure it will be delicious”, he/she will become more interested in eating. Children love to have fun so it is OK to go overboard sometimes.
Pay attention to the order
When your child eats what he/she likes first and then slows down, think about changing the order you give them their food. If you give them their favorite food first, they will be satisfied and will not be interested in eating the other food on their plate or given to them later. They are more likely to eat the foods they do not like when they are still hungry. Let them know that they will get their favorite foods after they finish what is already on their plate.
Give them less at a time
Parents want their children to eat a variety of food and to grow but this doesn’t mean it is OK to give them too much food. It is important to follow the eating guidelines for their age but also remember that all children have different size appetites. As long the doctor doesn’t say your child is eating too little there is no problem.
Giving them less food at a time will help them gain confidence and learn that they can eat what is given to them. If they are hungry later you can give them a healthy snack.
Leave the discipline for later
Many parents want their child to have good eating manners and are strict about how their child eats. However, if you are strict with a child that doesn’t eat, they will only hate eating even more and end up eating less. When children are in the “terrible twos phase”, they want to sit on their parent’s lap and have their parent feed them. In this case, it is best to do as they say instead of trying to discipline them. If you praise them when they can eat with good manners, they will try hard to do the same next time.
Parents are worried when their child does not eat. However, it is important for them to keep in mind that skipping one meal is not a problem. It is also a good idea to encourage your child to move around a lot before meals so he/she is hungry when it is time to eat. Attending a preschool will allow your child to experience eating in a group environment and follow their friends. Allowing your child to have at least one meal at home will give mom a break as well.