She LOVES food and even has a food blog in addition to this blog, so her son's picky eating definitely took her by surprise. Toddler is so distracted during meal times! But the pros of distraction feeding can sometimes outweigh the cons. Focus on … Your toddler may get such a kick out of it, she’ll be more than happy to eat up. BINGO! Toddlers are all about independence, so offer your tot healthy choices (Do you want a whole-grain waffle or cereal for breakfast?). Our feeding therapist has specifically recommended to use small distractions if we are working on trying a new food with my son, or a food that we know he does not like because of a texture. Distraction feeding is often used by parents of babies and toddlers to get them to eat. Eventually, she’ll figure out that if she wants to eat more, she’ll need to start eating what’s on the table. My DD (8.5 months old) does the same thing when there is too much going on around her. After all, given your tot’s new mobility, she’s far more interested in cruising around than sitting still to eat. I especially recommend rotating between several different distraction methods so your child doesn’t start relying on ONE of them to eat. Try not to expect that your toddler will eat normally when they are cutting teeth (especially not with molars!) They might be freaked out by all the different colors, textures, and flavors on their plate. He would eat anything and everything. From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect the Second Year. If a child is distracted and not as aware of their food, then they might not learn to eat certain textures, might not learn to enjoy certain flavors, and might not accept new foods to try later on in life. Then, there’s the issue of getting her to actually eat the food you serve; if your toddler is anything like most, she may have become very selective (make that suspicious) about the foods she’ll eat. Now she just wants to nap. u/hicadoola. 2. They don’t have a long attention span yet and their impulse control is somewhat non-existent, so it’s definitely a challenge! Plus, studies have found that children who have regular family meals eat more produce and whole grains (and less junk food) than kids who don’t have family mealtime. And please don’t forget to share this with a friend or save it for later on Pinterest: Kate is a first time mom to Elliot. The key to keeping toddlers out of trouble is keeping them busy! Even … Find advice, support, and good company (and some stuff just for fun). This is the same mom instinct I had even before we started feeding therapy. I want to emphasize that this is a recommendation for my son from our feeding therapist who has been working with him for months. Who says your toddler can’t have turkey-cheese pinwheels for breakfast or oatmeal for dinner? Toddlerhood can be a frustrating time for parents, especially when your toddler won’t eat. Advice. Looking for ways to instill healthy lifelong eating habits in your toddler? Is your toddler always distracted at mealtimes? Before having her son, she loved rock climbing, traveling, and yoga. Books like The Berenstain Bears and Too Much Junk Food by Stan and Jan Berenstain, and Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat are some toddler books that your little one will enjoy reading with you. and instead offer them plenty of liquids, chilled foods and things that don’t require too much chewing—smoothies, yogurt, pasta, popsicles—to help avoid irritating their already irritated gums. This is a passing developmental stage that can be quite a nuisance – it’s usually at it’s worst between four and five months. Toddlers are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables if they see their peers eating them, so look for opportunities where they can eat healthy with friends. And when she eats she has to read a book or play with a toy; waiting for me to feed her. What should you serve? But, some toddlers refuse to eat ANYTHING or mostly anything. She gets expressed bm at daycare in a bottle and even gets distracted there. 10. Add these challenges to your toddler’s developing sense of independence (usually asserted with a loud “No!” when you put food in front of her) and you’ve got a perfect storm blocking your feeding efforts. Incorporating foods she eats at daycare into our meals 4. Close. I see many kids who always have distracted eating. Why are toddlers so choosy? This does not necessarily apply to every child, so please work with a pediatrician AND an occupational therapist to determine the right approach for your child. It’s the opposite of intentional eating, where we enjoy our meal and make smart choices about what and how much we eat. If your child consistently doesn’t finish what’s on her plate, try scaling back the portions and letting her ask for more if she wants it. But if he's turned into a toddler who's just not that into food, you're not alone. Trust me. Some typical distractions while eating are the “airplane flying trick,” feeding your toys or having your child feed you first, waving toys in front of your kids, dancing or singing while your kids are eating, and of course: TV. It leads to toddlers either eating too much for their body or too little for their body, because they can’t really hear what their body is saying. Behavioral Assistance A dog who doesn’t eat might feel too insecure to do so. She refuses to drink from the breast (or bottle for that matter) or eat solids during the day and makes up for it at night waking 2-4 times! This Is The *Easiest* Way To Handle Your Toddler Being So Distracted. To a busy toddler who doesn’t want to do anything except play, they will eat for 1 minute and then start playing – which more often than not, is throwing. Of course, the goal for me is to have my son be open minded about trying new foods, and not get upset or anxious if he sees new foods on his plate. He doesn’t have to like all the foods he tries, I just don’t want him to have a meltdown if he sees a speck of parsley on his rice, or someone offers him something new to try. So there’s no need to force the issue each time. He is definitely more open minded about trying a new food if he is not staring at the food on his plate, being overwhelmed about having to try something new, something unfamiliar, something that might be a color he doesn’t want to eat or a shape that looks “wrong” to him. And let’s face it, a tired child just doesn’t eat well. She is 18 months old, not a picky eater but she can never sit on her high chair to eat more than 10 minutes. And limit milk intake to no more than 16 oz a day, and serve the milk with meals. If you don’t keep chips, cookies, candy, sugary cereals, punches and soda in the house, your toddler is less likely to eat or drink them. Of course, these are healthy parts of a toddler’s diet. The 3 Day Potty Training Method Is Unrealistic, Feeding while playing, or solving a puzzle. But when kids drink more than 16 ounces of milk and more than 4 ounces of juice a day, that can fill them up so they’re not hungry for other nutritious food. Look no further. If your toddler prefers softer foods to crunchier foods, offer her choices of new foods with similar textures and tastes. And don’t worry if your toddler doesn’t eat from every food group at every meal. 10-15 minutes of sitting still at a table is a very long time for a busy toddler. © 2020 Everyday Health, Inc. Use of this site is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy. For yummy and healthy meals, use these tips to sneak nutrients into your toddler's favorite foods. As a pediatric nutritionist, I hear the details, the concerns and the hair-pulling frustration from so many parents.. And as a mom who’s been through it and seen the dark side of a picky toddler (hello, low weight and anemia! Ever. (This is also related to my tip for reducing toddler meltdowns and raising a more easy-going toddler.). 7. Though Mom and Dad do know best, it’s important to recognize that young children have a pretty good handle on when they need to eat and when they don’t. American Academy of Pediatrics, Feeding and Nutrition Tips: Your 2-Year-Old, March 2017. Remember, though, it's normal for a 2-year-old to be easily distracted, very busy, and lacking in self-control. So I would recommend trying any of the other ideas before you go the screen time route. For a while now she is too distracted to eat when I try. There are many children whose picky eating is caused by sensory overload. So my advice is to feed the child dinner when he needs it, and then to let him eat something enjoyable (such as cut up fruit, warm milk with a little vanilla, or peanut butter on crackers) with his parents while they eat … We’ve been there. So be flexible on when you schedule your family dinners. Since toddlers still have small tummies, they usually do better eating five or six times a day (three meals and two or three snacks) rather than three larger meals. As long as it’s not cotton candy, it’s fine to let your toddler go on a “food jag,” as toddlers are known to do. Copyright 2020 - MAMA IS WORKING, LLC | Privacy Policy, Welcome to High Chair Chronicles, where parents of toddlers find, Feeding Therapy for Picky Eating – Our Toddler’s Experience, 7 Easy Family Rules to Reduce Picky Eating, 11 Easy Toddler Activities to Tire Them Out, Oh Crap! I wish she'd eat more in the day and less at night (i.e. We’ve been using this tactic with him for several foods, and it’s been working for us. Some are behavioral / psychology tactics that make my son want to eat, but most are distractions, plain and simple. This is normal, and you don’t need to worry about regulating her every bite. She agreed that this is typically NOT recommended, but it works very well for my son. This educational content is not medical or diagnostic advice. Sometimes they're too distracted to sit down and eat. My son has been working with a feeding therapist for months, on and off. I was glad to hear I wasn’t doing this feeding thing totally wrong. Now that your little one has become a squirmy, distracted toddler, you know that you have to be on your game to get any food past those adorable little lips. ), any advice please?! Like many parents who go the baby led weaning route, I always wanted to make sure she was getting enough to eat. We used to rely on our son watching TV to get him to eat for over a YEAR. What do you think of distractions while eating? tips to sneak nutrients into your toddler's favorite foods, Healthy Snacks for Kids: 10 Child-Friendly Tips, Family Meals: Small Investment, Big Payoff, reviewed by our medical review board and team of experts. We usually have to do it in 3 goes, if at all. That’s where my recommendations for distractions come in – because I’ve been through all of this with my son and we needed a way – any way – to get him to eat. Distraction feeding works because your child is distracted from the food and not as focused on being freaked out or repulsed by new food on the plate. When Megan Stevens woke up one morning and her toddler proclaimed it was his birthday, she didn't even correct him. ... My toddler (he’s 2 1/2) has always been a really good eater. This way your child won’t get used to eating only while playing and refuse to eat otherwise. Distracted eating is eating when your mind is elsewhere. Tips on breastfeeding or bottle feeding a distracted baby While you probably won't be able to get your baby to eat as transfixed as she did when she was a newborn, there are several things you can do to reduce the the eating-distracted-eating shuffle. But the pros of distraction feeding can sometimes outweigh the cons. Here is how we cut out TV while eating. Serve whole-wheat pancakes with fruit for lunch or a grilled-cheese sandwich for breakfast. ... And frustrated with her refusal during the day. Your toddler is more likely to try new foods when they feel they have choices. These distractions totally work for my son. This is why my top two fears about going out to eat with a toddler were ultimately debunked. As long as her diet is balanced overall, she’s doing fine. Kaitlyn (2 1/2 and all toddler) has always been on the more petite side in weight. Reading books about food could encourage your toddler to eat. And of course, he eats like a champ when he is zombied out by a cartoon. Pay close attention to the types of food your toddler will eat. After all, given your tot’s new mobility, she’s far more interested in cruising around than sitting still to eat. It is a rare toddler who can wait until 6pm for dinner, and a rare working adult who can eat before 6pm. Plus, you’ll have a tough time explaining why Mommy can eat cookies for dinner while the kids have to eat vegetables! When your child won’t eat dinner, it may simply be due to sheer exhaustion from a long day. Like magic, he opens his mouth for food if he is wheeling his car around the high chair, or if he is working on a puzzle on the coffee table in the living room. 5. When your toddler is eating every hour or so, also called “grazing”, it may cause your toddler not to eat. Anyone else? You want to make food your child likes to eat, but you’re not running a restaurant. Caught red-handed…(or peanut butter handed in this case.) Yes. Whether it's in the truck, the nursery rooms in malls or in a quiet room at another house (though she settles in a bit in the quiet room). And rest assured that if your toddler is growing well, you can feel confident that she’s on track. Toddler mealtime - she eats by herself/special meal (I sit with/talk to her while eating) 3. Fear #1: She Will Be Too Distracted to Eat. Bub too distracted to eat during the day...: And making up for it at night! He was having 5 full 8oz feeds a day no problem and we now struggle to get him to sit for 4oz. Please leave me a comment below, I would LOVE to hear from you! As long as it’s nutritious, it doesn’t matter when she eats it. Part of teaching your toddler healthy eating habits is helping her to recognize when she feels hungry and when she feels full. How I reversed my bad habits and got my toddler to actually be hungry at meal time and eat her dinner rather than snacking throughout the day. Presentation counts! And when is it better to feed your child without distractions? ), I have a heart for parents who are worried and struggle with this. So rather than cooking something just for your toddler, make a point of including something she likes eating at every meal (say, noodles with tomato sauce or a baked potato with cheese) and then encourage her to taste what you’re having (baked chicken or veggie stew) — and leave it at that. If a child is distracted and not as aware of their food, then they might not learn to eat certain textures, might not learn to enjoy certain flavors, and might not accept new foods to try later on in life. I am tired! If dinnertime is too hectic because you have older children involved in after-school activities, find another time that works, like Sunday brunch. Babies cry for many reasons outside of hunger. We finally decided to put an end to it because it was really taking away from having a nice meal together as a family. : At 20 weeks old (4and a half months), exclusively breastfed, my little girl fed twice in the early morning but in the day time she has one gulp then starts looking around and smiling or whinging (while milk goes everywhere). Since your child can’t exactly opt out of dinner and take the car to the drive-through, you get to decide what’s on the menu. Just make sure the snack foods are healthy ones too. Toddlers want to do what they see us doing (that’s why your little girl likes to wear your gloves or talk on Daddy’s cell phone). Everything from dental issues to illness-induced nausea can cause appetite loss in dogs. I’m on my 4th toddler, and still learning everyday! We save that tactic for when we have to go out to eat and he just refuses to sit, or when we are traveling and really need him to sit and eat quickly. This happens because of those normal toddler eating habits, it’s part of the stage they’re in, despite how annoying and worrisome it is to their mama. 2 years ago. So don’t stress: Continue to present your tot with a variety of healthy options, and keep reminding yourself that this, too, shall pass. Usually these jags are short lived. Some examples below…. That is much too long for many active toddlers. This comes as a shock to many parents. Guard against this problem by offering your little one plenty of water or even diluted juice (this will cut the calories and sugar in the juice and make it last longer). Anyone else struggling to get LO (little one) (little one) to drink without becoming bored, fidgety, wriggly around and looking everywhere!!? Instead, she served her toddler a plate of food while pretending it was indeed his birthday, and to her amazement, found that he ate it all without complaint. 8 Ways to Pack Protein Into Your Child's Diet. Of course, it’s not ideal if a toddler only eats when distracted. In fact, I have a whole list of tips and tricks to get your toddler to eat, and many of them are various distraction feeding ideas. by Caroline Shannon-Karasik. If she's a newborn, check that she's latching on properly. So continue to offer your child regular meals and snacks, but if she decides to pass, let her. One genius mom has decided to turn breakfast time into a party to encourage her picky toddler to eat. Many toddlers and children can also be underweight because of their picky eating and sensory issues. This is definitely the case with my son, who’s had some amount of food aversion since he was a baby. Sleep! Once my son is consistently eating a new food while being distracted, I show him the food he is eating, tell him what it’s called, and make sure he is aware of what he is eating so that he learns that he actually likes this food! Grazing leads toddlers to lose touch with their internal cues. Let Kids Feed Themselves Kids should start finger feeding around 9 months of age and try using utensils by 15-18 months. Posted by. He is willing to give food a fair chance if we are talking about pictures we see on flash cards, or if he is bobbing his head up and down to his favorite songs. In the meantime, your toddler’s current meal plan won’t have a long-term negative effect on her health. Too distracted to eat when out and about: My now 8mth DD used to be pretty good for breastfeeding when we were out doing things like at the mall or at a friends place. In fact, you’ll be doing your toddler a big favor by not insisting she eat when she’s not hungry. Archived. Or do you agree that it might be a good tactic to use to help picky eaters eat better? Now that your little one has become a squirmy, distracted toddler, you know that you have to be on your game to get any food past those adorable little lips. The educational health content on What To Expect is reviewed by our medical review board and team of experts to be up-to-date and in line with the latest evidence-based medical information and accepted health guidelines, including the medically reviewed What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff. In reality, restaurants feed my toddler so I don’t have to, and we (parents) have an opportunity to model good behavior for our child. his shirt is on backwards too. We’ve seen huge progress in his eating, and I wrote more about it in my post about feeding therapy for picky eating, read about it if you’re curious. When she is hungry enough, she will calm down enough to eat. I just want to warn that if you decide to try to use TV, you might have a really hard time going back on that. Avoid Mission Impossible: Avoid serving your toddler more food than they can possibly eat on their plates – this can simply overwhelm them and make them less likely to eat. I have a great blog post where I share 20 different tips and tricks that get my son to eat, and if you look at them you will see that most of them are distractions in one way or another. Read books to encourage your toddler to eat. Why A Toddler Refuses to Eat. This can lead to a child not knowing when they are full and when they should stop eating, which can then lead to childhood obesity or portion control and weight problems later on in life. While many 2-year-olds can be rash, children with ADHD are impulsive to an extreme degree — frequently striking out at another child without any provocation or touching a hot stove after being repeatedly warned of the danger. Some days your child will eat like a horse. There could be another issue at play, especially if your dog is displaying distracted eating behaviors out of the blue. But don’t be discouraged if your little one doesn’t immediately say, “Yum!” It may help to remember that “no” doesn’t really mean “no.” It often means “not now.” Research shows that it can take 10 or 15 tries before a toddler will accept a new food. If at first you don’t succeed, simply try, try, try again. 3. After all, it’s pretty hard to beg for a treat (or cave in and give your toddler one) if your child can see that there are no treats to be found. Still, as challenging as getting your toddler to eat well can be, this is actually an ideal time to start teaching her about healthy eating habits. I would love to hear from you below – Does your baby only eat if distracted? (You can always offer her another healthy snack later.) 2. She needs to take a good mouthful of breast to be able to feed well. 9. Their senses are occupied with distractions, so they just do not oppose trying new foods, eating non-preferred foods, or eating more food. There could be all sorts of reasons why your baby's getting distracted. You want to be sure she’s getting the maximum nutritional value from the foods she does eat. Take a look at them, see if they might help your picky eater! The patterns she develops now will likely be the ones she’ll carry into adulthood. Baby too distracted to eat?! There are many distractions that can be used while trying to feed a picky eater toddler: You can definitely try whichever one you think your child might enjoy. Toddler is so distracted during meal times! This is a great way to model healthy eating habits for your toddler and also teach the lesson that meals are about more than just food; they’re about turning off the TV, putting away the video games and connecting with family and friends. The problem I’m having with her is that she gets distracted and won’t eat. Kids who are pushed to have “one more bite” often learn to ignore their bodies’ signals, and that can lead to overeating and weight problems later on. 1. Distraction feeding is simply using various distractions while eating to get your child to eat. Parents often worry that they’re not eating enough, but they’re typically getting too many unhealthy foods. Gah! But we NEVER do it at home anymore – it would be too easy for him to fall into the iPad habit again at home. I highly value structure and consistency in my parenting style. Adjust expectations. Your Child is Too Tired to Eat. Family mealtime - everyone eats together/same meal (they eat family style at daycare where she seems to eat a lot, so I was hoping this would work but it doesn't really) 2. Health information on this site is based on peer-reviewed medical journals and highly respected health organizations and institutions including ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists), CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics), as well as the What to Expect books by Heidi Murkoff. Focus on lean beef and poultry, fish, dairy foods, brightly colored vegetables and fruit, and whole-grain breads, pastas and cereals. That makes now a prime opportunity to help her learn to like nutritious foods — and to limit the foods that are high in fat, sugar, cholesterol and sodium. So if your toddler sees you eating fish and chicken, whole grains and plenty of fruits and vegetables while avoiding fried and junky foods, she’s much more likely to follow your lead. He grabs at the bottle, tries to hold it pushes it out of his mouth its a nightmare. 11. Please whitelist our site to get all the best deals and offers from our partners. When is distraction feeding OK to use? Make sure she's actually hungry. Some kids are too aware of everything they are eating. Hi Amy, I am so desperate to send you this email when thinking about my toddler’s eating style. Other days, it will seem as though she’s not eating enough. Drinking too much milk or juice can dull toddler appetites. So start him off right with these golden rules of toddler dining. A reasonable amount of time to expect your child to sit during a meal is 1-2 minutes per year of age. Are we just spoiling our kids and being too soft on them? Especially at the beginning, include familiar and liked foods in family meals so the child can always find something to eat and make sure to schedule a snack 1.5-2 hours after a meal so he has a chance to eat again soon. Most of the time I just take her to my bedroom (if I am home) and lay down with her side by side to feed her. It’s 100% normal for a toddler to refuse to eat – sometimes. It’s one way you can tap into her desire for control while still making sure she’s eating healthfully. At around 2 months, your baby will … Eat at the right time: One of the reasons toddlers don’t eat well at dinner is because it is typically scheduled when they are tired. Distraction feeding is definitely controversial, because a child is not as aware of their food and not as in tune with their body if they are eating while they are distracted. In several blog posts I write about how distractions while eating, called distraction feeding, can help picky eaters eat better. These golden rules will help you lay the groundwork. It takes the pressure off of having to eat. Of course, it’s not ideal if a toddler only eats when distracted. About half of all two-year-olds are picky eaters, turning up their noses at nonwhite foods and insisting on pasta — plain — 24/7. An occasional splurge (say, at a birthday party or other special occasion) teaches kids that these foods are fine in moderation, and that they don’t have to sneak them behind your back — or binge on them when they finally come their way. What you can do about it will depend on how old your baby is. I remember this phase with my other three but not this bad or long. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. It’s all you can do to strap her into a high chair long enough to dish out a serving. That said, there’s no need to ban junk food completely. Started feeding therapy bub too distracted to eat it might be freaked out by cartoon... Why my top two fears about going out to eat sensory overload s nutritious, doesn... Day no problem and we now struggle to get your child regular meals and,! ’ m having with her is that she gets distracted and won ’ t eat well daycare... Them, see if they might help your picky eater 16 oz a day no problem we! 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2020 toddler too distracted to eat