The Place of Choice
The struggle for parents of older babies and toddlers is that in an attempt to increase the range of foods they eat and to Avoid the mealtime battles perhaps cutting back would work better, and using their child’s developing skills would interest them to stay longer at the meal.
And give you something to do other than “just give it a try” or “I know you’ll like it”:
- The idea is to keep the young baby (12-15 months) and toddler focused on the food for its interesting characteristics not just to be eaten. So by OFFERING A CHOICE about everything, it means he has to stop and think about what he likes, and know the decision is his, not just what you put in front of him, and he has a responsibility for what he is going to eat.This does not mean a SMORGASBORD!
- Start off with things you know he likes, do you want weet-bix
or rice bubbles?
- Some fruit with it or on the side?
- Brown or white toast?
- Bread or toast? then add a variation (peanut butter on a Cracker, not toast)
- Round toast (English muffin) or square?
- Fruit toast with butter or cream cheese?
- Toasted sandwich or cold bread cut into squares or triangles or strips?
- Stack them up or spread them out?
How many pieces?
Cycle back through three things – spoon, finger food the self feeding When he’s finished with one offer the next then go back to
Show him food as you prepare it, not just deposit in front of him. This does not mean you have to have him cooking all the time but instead of giving him Peanut butter toast (or what ever he will have some of happily) prepare it in front of him.
Show him how to spread butter / peanut butter, cream cheese etc. Put some spread on the knife and ask him to do it.
- Give him a small knife (a Pate knife is good- often has a
cow or chicken Handle!)
- Let him do it FOR YOU or his sister to eat – or for himself
- It may be slow but you can praise him for his skill and he may stay involved longer
- Let him cut up your vegetables.
- “Can you do this for daddy while I get your water”
- Let him serve you food with mini tongs
- Get him to sprinkle the grated cheese on the pasta
- See if he can work out how to shell peas, or peel carrots
- Sort grapes and blueberries from a bowl
- Serve small amounts of food in ice block tray or any lidded containers
- If out at a park Have a small collection of little snacks in a Bento type box
- He can come and go to eat what he wants.
Thinking about choice all the time moves the responsibility and control to your toddler. His goal in life !!