- Give fair warning, about 20 minutes before lunch is planned, that lunchtime is approaching and he or she will have to take a break from their free time in order to eat. This way, announcing it is time for lunch won't come as a complete surprise.
- Sound the proverbial dinner bell. When lunchtime has come, cheerfully declare that it is time to eat. Make sure to sound excited, as this will decrease the likelihood of a fight from your child. Let your toddler help you in preparing lunch.
- Give choices ("Would you like applesauce or yogurt?") to make him or her feel more involved and in control of the process. Don't make anything that takes too long to prepare, as a child's patience is limited.
- Make the eating process fun. Count how many strawberries your child has on his or her plate or how many green items are being served. Ask questions involving the child's favorite people or characters ("Does Spiderman like eating sandwiches as much as you do?")
- Don't force them to try something new. Put a little on their plate and eat some yourself. After they've seen it a few times (or several times), they'll try it.
- Involve your child in the clean-up process. Give them a washcloth to wipe down the table, or have them throw their napkin away. This will benefit the child's self-esteem and help you in the process!
Remember. ALERT! : -
- Remember never to force a child to eat his/ her meal. The toddler may develop a genuine aversion towards food and begin to hate meal times.
- Keep in mind that different people need different amounts of food. If your child is feeling too full, don't force them to eat more, because it is likely that they will get sick. At the same time, don't deny more food if they are still hungry after eating.