What a little one-der
By the time they’re around 12 months old, your little one will probably be pretty good at picking up finger foods and drinking from their own cup and using a spoon, although they might still need a little help from you. They’ve come a long way since their first spoonful of purée but there’s still more fun to come, so you can expect to find squished banana on every surface for a while yet!
Terrific at Two
By their second birthday, your toddler is likely to be able to use a spoon and cup without making quite so much mess. If your toddler’s not quite there yet, don’t worry. Every child learns at their own pace so keep smiling and stay positive, they’ll soon stop splattering the walls – honest!
Practice makes perfectLike any new skill, learning to feed themselves takes practice and patience. You can help your toddler get a head start by eating together as a family. By seeing what goes on at the dinner table they’ll be able to copy your every move. And if your little copycat has older brothers or sisters to watch too, they may well pick up these skills even quicker. But, they won’t just be watching how you’re eating, they’ll be interested in what you’re eating too. So show them how much you love healthy foods by piling your plate with good stuff – they’re bound to try and grab some! Every time your toddler does something well, make sure they know it. Giving them lots of praise is the best way to help them learn.
“My way, mummy”
Finding their feet is wonderful to watch. But your toddler’s growing independence can lead to all sorts of new challenges. From fussy eating to refusing to be spoon-fed, your little Miss or Mr Independent may well have different ideas to you at mealtimes. If that’s the case, keep calm and adapt! Wanting to feed themself is good isn’t it? So, hand over the spoon and let them eat like a grown-up. Finger foods are another great way to tempt them into eating independently. Keep those little fingers and jaws busy with foods like strips of cooked chicken, mini cheese sandwiches or hard-boiled eggs, quartered.
That fussy eating phase
Fussy eating can be more frustrating though. Especially when you serve up something they loved last week and now they won’t touch it. It’s not uncommon for toddlers to go through a fussy stage and luckily most of them will grow out of it. Sometimes they refuse food because they’re just not hungry or have already eaten enough. Or it might be because they’re not sure about a new taste or texture. So try again another day, it can take quite a few goes before they decide if they like something.
While you might be in charge of what goes on their plate, your toddler will decide how much stays there. A clean plate isn’t necessarily best for them – even though you’d like to see it! So let them decide when they’ve had enough. Learning to control their own appetite is an important skill that can help reduce the risk of becoming overweight when they’re older.
Remember, if you need any extra advice and support on toddler feeding, our expert mums at the Careline are ready to help. Just give us a call.