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maynardgirl's avatar

How do you get a 2 year old to eat?

Asked by maynardgirl (14points) August 4th, 2009

tips for getting children to eat

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19 Answers

gailcalled's avatar

I wouldn’t worry. I have never seen a toddler who didn’t eventually eat. Keep meals low-key, don’t provide snacks, stick to a calm routine.

dpworkin's avatar

It’s a little hard to understand exactly what the problem is. Do you have a sick child who is not getting enough nutrition, or do you have a kid who doesn’t feel like eating once in a while?

In the second event it would be my opinion that it’s none of your business, in a sense. By that I mean that even is 2-YO is an individual, and he or she will eat when he or she is hungry.

marinelife's avatar

It is better not to make the act of eating fraught with any sort of battles. Offer a variety of food at mealtimes. Try to keep a schedule.

sandystrachan's avatar

Offer food that the toddler like, fun exciting colourful foods .
Fruit , noodles , rice , baked potato or in any form , chicken , mince and potato or mince with pasta sauce . Don’t worry if the child doesn’t eat when my daughter was around that age, she was very fussy and would sometimes go a day or three without much food . Now she is nearly 6 she never stops eating .

MissAusten's avatar

Most kids will regulate their own food intake fairly well over the course of the week. Try to look at what your kid eats in the long-term, not at each meal.

A two year old should have breakfast, a morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, and dinner. Turn off the TV, sit at the table, and offer some variety throughout the day. Don’t let the kid load up on juice or snacks between meals, and let the child decide when he or she is full. My youngest will sometimes barely pick at his lunch, then tell me ten minutes after it’s all cleaned up that he wants a snack. After the first time this happened, I started putting his lunch in the fridge. If he’s actually hungry, he’ll eat it. If not, he can wait until snack time. Try to avoid turning food into an issue to battle over. At two years, kids are starting to try to assert their independence and have a little control over their own lives.

You might try to offer a couple of choices at meals, whenever possible. Ask if the child wants pancakes or cereal for breakfast, apple slices or a banana for snack. Use big cookie cutters to make fun sandwiches at lunch time. Just don’t overwhelm with choices—having two or three things to pick from is plenty. I let my kids choose breakfast and snacks, sometimes lunch. Dinner is always non-negotiable. Except on birthdays. The birthday child always gets to choose the dinner menu, which has made for some memorable meals.

Also, let your child help with the meal or setting the table. A two year old can pour, stir, and help put together a sandwich. He or she can put silverware on the table, hand out napkins, etc. He or she can also help you pick out foods at the grocery store. My kids love to go to the orchard and pick fruit. They’ll always at least try what they pick, and they love to make things with the food they picked. Have fun!

sandystrachan's avatar

If possible take the child into the kitchen , to give you a helping hand cook the meal . That way the child has helped cook and should eat , My daughters are never out the kitchen that ages 2 and nearly 6 . I have a stool for them to sit on they enjoy watching and partly helping .

casheroo's avatar

I’ve been told many times how lucky I am, my son has always been a great eater and loves to try new things. The other day he had calamari and loved it! (He’s 2)

I would just try offering more things. Does your child have specific favorites? I wouldn’t be worried if your child goes through phases like that. My son would only eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch for a while, and at one point it was just veggie corn dogs. He picks a favorite food and wants it all the time for a while. Then he moves on.

Likeradar's avatar

Don’t make it a big deal. Set up your child for a healthy and tasty variety of meals and scheduled snacks. Don’t want to eat what’s put in front of them? Ok. Mealtime over. Try again in a couple of hours. A healthy 2 year old will not allow themselves to starve.

If this is not about a healthy child who’s being picky, please let us and your dr. know!

ShanEnri's avatar

I had trouble with my daughter eating and she was teeny tiny too. Her docs always said the same thing, “she’ll eat when she gets hungry”.

erniefernandez's avatar

When she’s older, if she’s a pain in the butt, you can only feed her something she hates /except/ lunch and dinner time. She’ll get used to eating at the right time.

At 2 years old, leave her alone. She’ll eat when she’s ready.

galileogirl's avatar

We never had a lot of sweets in the house. Instead of high fat, chocolatey cookies, I would give my daughter a graham cracker etc.

We went to dinner at a friend’s house and when hostess offered the kids seconds on dessert, my 12 yo daughter asked for seconds on the broccoli. Once when we ate at a white tablecloth restaurant she fell in love with lobster bisque.

Just offer fussy eaters what you are eating. Don’t cop out by giving them high sodium, high fat or highly sweetened alternatives.

YARNLADY's avatar

Make the food easy to pick up and chew. Don’t be too strict on using eating utinsels. Put the food in front of them, wait a decent amount of time (I suggest about 30 minutes) then take it away.

My sons and grandsons were were required to eat what I served them before they could have anything else. When they didn’t eat their meal, I packaged it up and served it again at the next meal, or allow them to snack on it in between meals.

Jack79's avatar

You don’t need to, especially since it’s summer now and they need fewer calories per day. Just have the food ready. I’ve never heard of a child that died of starvation when there was food around. They always eat in the end, and there’s more long-term damage in trying to force them to eat, then there is if you let them go hungry for a couple of days.

Val123's avatar

Wait till he/she’s hungry to feed them. Don’t let them have snacks in between meals. And I agree wholeheartedly with @Marina Do NOT let it turn into a battle of any kind!

Sparky_'s avatar

Don’t force them to eat when they’re not hungry. All this does is make them fat and feel like they always should be eating.

Have a varied diet available and if they get hungry give them something that includes items that are different than they had at their previous meal so they get a balanced diet.

Dutchess_III's avatar

You don’t.

kritiper's avatar

Dish it up and put it in front of them. If they don’t eat, they can go hungry. It’s as simple as that.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And don’t make a big deal out of it. Don’t yell “You can just go hungry then!!”
Just say “Put your plate in the sink when you’re done.”

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