Many parents and babysitters in Dubai find that feeding their toddler can be a fussy job.
In a previous blog, we had discussed temper tantrums and how to deal with them. In this help4u.today blog post, we will discuss about feeding a fussy eater. It is an exhausting task trying to run after a child who will just not eat easily. But this is not necessarily a thing to worry about until and unless it becomes a regular problem. The key thing is to not lose one’s calm, be relaxed and not get anxious about mealtimes.
Children generally have a small appetite and will themselves eat enough to keep them going. It is not advised to keep running after them and forcing them to eat more than they want to. It is better to analyze what your child has eaten on a weekly basis rather than on a daily basis.
A good gauge whether your child is eating well is that the child should be active and healthy. Being well filled out is not a way to measure health.
How Childcarers or Babysitters in Dubai Can Make Children Eat?
More often than not, toddlers will go through a phase of being very fussy and eating only familiar foods or hand-picked things. This is because children, around the age of two, will go through a phase called food neophobia; this is when children refuse to try new food. But the thing to remember is that these phases are all temporary and not be a major concern to any parent or babysitter in Dubai.
Children eat what they are familiar with. They need some time to understand that the new food is not necessarily unpleasant. Children get over their apprehension towards new things pretty quickly, as long as they are adequately exposed to it. They can learn to eat and enjoy the new and unfamiliar foods when they observe other people around them eating and enjoying the same.
It is necessary for a child to have a considerable amount of daily physical activity in order to work up an appetite. A child sitting at home all day is more likely to face appetite loss than an active child.
Some tips to help your struggle with your toddler easier:-
Plan family meals
Eating together as a family can help greatly in influencing your child to be more open towards his or her eating preferences. Watching you eat will encourage the child too. It can be difficult to do so when both the parents are working, but it is important to work out a schedule.
It is advised to eat the same food as your toddler. It is even more advisable to eat from big dishes on the centre table; your toddler will be more inclined to join into the meal when it is an interactive and bonding experience. The child will also be more confident about the food than when eating alone. But parents should not add extra condiments to the child’s food.
Positive frame of mind
It is important to make the child believe that what they are being asked to eat is actually enjoyable and that you enjoy eating the same things as well. Don’t forget, you are your child’s role model; what you approve of, your child will also more likely approve of the same thing. If your child sees you eating these foods with a happy temperament, he will also be more inclined towards eating them. You can also pretend to like certain foods in order to convince your child to try them out too.
It is important to understand that you should be positive and happy around your child. Children sense a negative environment quicker than adults. Let them know that you are happy when you are with them. Praise them for little achievements and don’t give them attention only when they don’t eat. This might led to them refusing food just so they get some attention from you. Be more attentive to your child’s moods and try to be in a positive frame of mind around them for their healthy cognitive development.
Try to understand that your child is the best judge of his/her appetite. If their food is unfinished even after an hour, then take the plate away and do not force the food upon them. It is very unlikely that they will finish the entire meal in one go.
Mealtimes should be a stress-buster
Mealtimes should not be a very taxing experience. Company also has a positive effect on a child’s appetite. Children are very impressionable and it is easy to sway them into doing something by showing them that they have support in the activity. Try and arrange for meal dates; have a few preschool friends over for tea or meals. Watching people their own age tucking in will encourage them to do the same.
Make sure that your toddler is away from the distractions such as pets and television during mealtimes. These factors make it difficult for your child to concentrate on eating their food properly. Try and make mealtimes an interactive activity; talk to your child about things that are comprehendible by them so that they also participate in the conversation.
Giving your child foods that help him understand the different textures of food is also good way to make them interested in eating their meals. Letting them eat their food by themselves gives it a more responsible feel and makes them feel a sense of achievement in completing their meal even if they make a mess.
Work out a daily meal plan that fits around the child’s daytime sleep pattern. This plan should include at least 3 proper meals and 2-3 snacks in between meals. These should be well spaced throughout the day so as to ensure the proper distribution of meals. Children prefer it when they know what to expect.
It is important to realise that a toddler’s energy gets drained out very quickly. Give your child small tidbits to eat or drink before naptime and save the heavy meals for other times during the day.
Make them interested
Give your child multiple course meals such as a savoury course and a healthy dessert after that. Give them options in their meals and try not make the meals very repetitive. This gives toddlers more opportunities to take in nutrition and also encourages them to try a wider variety of foods. Give them small portions; seeing a dish laden with food is likely to lessen their appetite.
Avoid bribing your child with dessert or any other thing in order to get them to finish their meal.
Make mealtimes interactive
Involve them in the preparation of the meal. Let them set the sometimes, you can even let them help in the cooking of the meals if you think they are up to it. Take them to the supermarket once they are old enough and let them decide what to buy.
When children see the foods at such close quarters, they might be more inclined towards eating them. It opens up their perception towards new foods.
How to ascertain when your toddler is full
It is not necessary for a child to eat all his meals fully. They might sometimes eat very little at one meal and then fill themselves up later at another meal or snack time. If they show signs of being full, simly take away the food and do not force them.
Some signs that show that the child is full are-
Trying to move away from the table.
Refusing to eat anymore.
Turning away their face from the food.
Spitting out the food.
Retching/ vomiting out the food.
Pushing away a spoon or bowl of food.
What not to do
Don’t try to coax, bribe or force your child to finish their meal.
Don’t offer them alternatives every time they refuse to eat something. Try and include something they are sure to eat in every meal. Otherwise try and ensure that your child eats the same thing as you.
Don’t offer dessert as a prize for finishing the savoury meal. This can lead to further aversion towards healthy foods.
Don’t forget to include an adequate amount of liquids in you toddler’s diet. Try and phase out bottles by giving them milk/water/juice in cups, etc.
Don’t offer snacks right before a meal.
Don’t worry if a meal doesn’t go as planned. Be patient with yourself and your child.
If your toddler is on healthy diet containing starchy foods, protein, dairy products and fruits and vegetables, then, more often than not, there is no need to worry. Maintain a record of your toddler’s eating habits on a weekly basis and if there is some concrete cause to worry, consult your pediatrician.
If you are looking for a babysitter in Dubai who will take care of your child and ensure that your baby is well cared for and fed, contact help4u.today. The online aggregator of domestic services providers in Dubai will help you identify a babysitter who will help you raise your child and take care of it. The Help4u.today has dozens of babysitting services listed. You can compare babysitting prices and services in the comfort of your home before picking one. The help4u.today app helps you to keep track of the jobs and time your babysitter spends so you know that all that you had set out is actually done and you baby is cared for properly.
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