If a stranger has better luck getting your little one (LO) to eat food than you, you may be making this common mistake.
Don’t worry, you’re not alone in this. Most parents at some point or another struggle at meal times with their little one. Is it just a phase or something you’re doing wrong?
Well, it could be both!
If eating less is just a phase
Kids eat less than you expect or want them to for a number of reasons. The most common reason being they legitimately are not hungry.
Kids are much better at intuitive eating than you and I; meaning they eat when they are hungry and finish when they are full. Even if that means putting down food mid-bite.
They may ask for seconds or even thirds at one meal, and the next they take only a bite and tell you they are full.
As frustrating as this is, eating this way is completely normal, healthy and EXPECTED for kids. Especially kids between the ages of 2- 5 years old.
If they eat less because of you
If grandma, your partner, or your daycare has better luck feeding your LO, it’s gotta be you right?
Well, it’s not always so clear cut.
Sometimes kids eat better when other kids are around. They see kids just like them trying new food so they occasionally muster up the courage the try that food too. But of course that’s not always the case (or that would be way too easy!)
When it comes to the magic of grandma or your partner feeding your LO, the simple answer why they fare better is because they care less. They don’t have as much invested in “getting” your kid to eat and kids can FEEL the difference.
The pressure is the difference, not you!
Having expectations of what or how much your LO will eat almost always sets you up for disappointment. Why?
Because for kids, expectations can feel like pressure. And what do most young kids do when they feel pressured to do something they don’t want to do? They resist.
For your LO pressure to eat may look like:
- A pre-portioned plate of food.
- Asking for a certain number of bites.
- New food on their plate.
- You asking probing questions about the food.
- Asking them to touch, taste, or lick food.
- You sitting and watching them eat.
Did reading that take every tool out of your toolbox?
So now that you have absolutely no idea how to “get” your LO to eat, I’m going to leave you with this.
You CANNOT actually “get” your kid to eat. You can make the food and make sure you have a decent schedule with enough time between meals for them to be hungry. You can incorporate at least one food they like to eat…. but besides that you have absolutely no control over IF and HOW MUCH they will eat.
Whether this notion brings you a sense of relief or adds to your tension is completely up to you. But know this, the more you stress and worry about your LO’s eating the more pressure they will feel.
I’ve seen this vicious cycle of worry and pressure play out in too many households.
Stay tuned to learn how to break the cycle so you can raise a happy, healthy, intuitive eater.