Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

Fed up with slow eaters or toddlers who never finish their meals? Try these tricks...

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  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Offer smaller portions rather than piling your child’s plate high with food. A huge bowl of food can be daunting, particularly for reluctant eaters. You can always serve up second helpings.
  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Stay calm. Serve up food and leave it on the table for 20 minutes. If it is uneaten and there is no interest in it, then give a warning and then throw it away. Do not offer an alternative and do not display any anger. Your child must realise that it is he who has chosen to go hungry.
  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Invite friends with children round for lunch or tea, so they can see their peers enjoying their food.
  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Turn off the TV. Sit your children down with no distractions so they can concentrate on eating.
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  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Eat together: watching other family members using their cutlery and eating well can help encourage reluctant eaters to get stuck in.
  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Make their food look interesting. Brightly coloured foods in a variety of shapes and textures can help stimulate interest in food.
  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Give babies finger foods. Learning to eat is part of learning to be independent. They are more likely to eat up if they can take control of mealtimes and do it by themselves.
  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Limit drinks between and at mealtimes. Juice, milk and even water can fill up small tums before enough food has gone down.
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  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Cut down on offering snacks between meals. Children know when they are full and simply won’t eat if their stomachs are saying ‘no more’.
  • Sneaky ways to get your toddler to eat up

    Invent a story. Pretend all the peas are brothers and are desperate to be together in your child’s tummy. Then send down their friends the carrots and a piece of chicken for them to sit on. Maybe they need some mash pillows to bash each other with and so on…

Last updated on 15 August 2007

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