At two, children can already grasp the idea of habit and schedule. This is something we can use make use of to encourage them to eat during meal time.
Our pedia recently introduced to us the 20-minute rule in eating. Basically, we will stick to a 3-meal a day routine for two-weeks removing the snacks in between in order for the child to actually feel hungry and look forward to the next meal.
Below are tips on how to do this rule:
1. Plan out a schedule and stick to it.
Work something out like breakfast at 7AM, Lunch at 12 noon, and dinner at 7PM. This is so the child learn to anticipate and understand that eating is done at certain times.
In this rule, finished or unfinished plate will be removed after 20 minutes.
2. Remove distraction.
TV, Ipad, toys. These are some of the things which can help make them eat. Although, most of the time these are effective, these doesn’t help much in encouraging interest of the child to the food. Our pedia even said that, making the child do multiple things at once contribute to developing ADHD. You want them to focus and gain interest on food not distract them from it.
3. Feed the eye.
Toddlers are attracted to colour. Make use of them. Curiosity will encourage them to pick that broccoli up and make a taste test. Don’t lose heart if they spit it out. You can always try again tomorrow.
4. Avoid force-feeding
You want to encourage the child to gain interest on food not traumatise him. Resist the urge to stress the child in finishing up the plate before the time is up.
Introduce different food that your child can taste test during this period. Plan out a meal plan. Refer to the good old food pyramid so you’ll be able to properly prepare nutritious food for your little one.
6. Reward improvements.
If a child finishes his plate, you may reward him with his favourite dessert or snack to encourage this behaviour.
7. Be consistent.
If you are lenient today and strict tomorrow, you may not be able to get the result that you want. There should always be a follow-through.
Feel free to comment your ideas below for other tips you may want to share with us moms.