Why Toddlers Are Picky Eaters
You have been trying to get your toddler to eat what you give him or her for months now, and you are getting frustrated. It feels like your toddler will only eat on a whim, and foods that he or she once loved can't be stomached a day later. Of course, you may want to blame yourself for your child's picky eating habits, but picky eating is just part of what it mean to be a toddler. Don't worry; your toddler will grow out of it.
Solid Food, Small Tummies
Your toddler has been eating solid food for a while now, and he is completely weaned off the mush. This may make a difference in how much it seems he is willing to eat, since he still has a small tummy, despite the change in diet. The average toddler's stomach is the size of their fist. So what may look like picky eating and a low appetite to you may actually be filling his stomach. Solid foods take up more room than liquid and mush, so it may seem like not that much, but a small plate of food is a lot for a toddler.
Slower Weight Gain
Before now, your baby was going through rapid weight gain. However, by the time your toddler has started to peck and poke at her food, her growth spurt has slowed down or stopped. This means, quite simply, she needs less food. All her body needs energy for now is maintenance.
Life on the Go
Part of what it means to be a toddler is to learn and explore the world around you. Your little on is on the go all the time exploring her environment, and she doesn't want to sit still to eat a meal when there are more interesting things going on elsewhere! Snacking her way through the day, or grazing, may actually be more compatible to her lifestyle than full separate meals. It may also help to keep her small tummy full more than empty, which can lessen moodiness.
The N Word
Your toddler is also learning that she has an influence on the environment and actions of those around her. This is why she just loves to drop her food and toys on the floor and tell you "no!" She is exploring her influence and control when she drops that n-word just as she is when she refuses to eat that snack you thought she liked yesterday. Picky eating is another way for her to explore her relationship to the actions of others and the environment around her. Don't try to force her to eat though; being able to say no and be picky about food is essential for her development of self-efficacy and independence.
So that's why you shouldn't blame yourself if your toddler is a picky eater - unfortunately it's a fact of life you both may have to deal with for a while. But don't worry, he'll soon grow out of it - especially when he hits his next growth spurt.
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