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Heidi Skudder of the Parent and Baby Coach has 5 top tips

While todderhood can mean the end of night feeds and sleep regressions, and the beginning of exciting new physical development stages, it can also mean the onset of fussy eating. While it is totally normal for your child to start testing boundaries, it is also equally as important to make sure that your stick to your guns when it comes to food. Here are some top tips to help you survive that fussy eating stage;

1. Be creative

Toddlers love colour and using their imaginations. Think of different ways to offer food to them and in different forms too. For example, broccoli is great as a side vegetable, but could also be put into a pasta sauce, chopped up into an omelette or even used in a juice.

2. Keep offering

So many parents end up not offering something if they know their child does not like it. This only causes an aversion in itself. Keep offering your child the foods they do not eat and one day they may well pick up that food and surprise you!

3. Socialise with your toddler

Imagine always having to sit alone to eat. Not only that but also being watched by beady eyes who want to make sure you finish every mouthful. It’s just no fun. Taking your child out for meals, as well as creating family meal times at home makes your toddler more likely to eat well.

4. Praise your child..

..when eating well or even just when sitting nicely in the chair to eat! Praise acts as the biggest boost for most children and means that your toddler is more likely to recreate the behaviour you are noticing. ‘Oliver, I love the way you are using your spoon so nicely’ will increase his likelihood of him using his spoon nicely again.

5. And... relax

Easier said than done, but most eating problems in children are accentuated by the parent’s concerns over the toddler not eating well. A toddler will not go hungry, they will eat when they need to and in fact their appetites are so small that they are unlikely to eat well at every meal. Much like us, if our body tells us we need food – we will eat. Taking a step back from worrying is one of the biggest ways of increasing your toddler’s appetite. As I said, easier said than done.

:: Heidi’s new parenting workshop in association with the Wyld Cookery School ‘Toddlers at the Table’ talks all about fussy eating in children aged 1-3 years. If you are stuck for mealtime ideas, need some advice on how to make your child sit at the table, or want to know how to get any vegetable possible into your toddler’s tummy, check it out here.