What to Avoid with a Fussy Toddler!

Fussy eating in toddlers can be one of the most difficult things a parent has to face! But all hope is not lost – there are steps to take which can make life easier. Following our tips on what steps to take with a fussy toddler, the Infant & Toddler Forum is here to help, with advice on what to avoid with a fussy toddler.

First of all, it’s key to remember that this is a normal stage of a toddler’s development. Secondly, don’t forget that some children are fussier than others (even in the same family). You may have tried to introduce all the right foods in infancy, but your little one still refuses everything but their favourite foods! This type of fussiness is genetically determined and is not due to anything that you have or haven’t done. Children like this are more likely to be reactive to any sensory input – messy hands and feet, having their teeth cleaned, odd noises, funny smells. So, they like to stick to any foods that have the same smell, taste and appearance.

What should I avoid doing with a fussy toddler?

Even though this is a normal stage, there are some things you can avoid to make things easier! Here are our top tips.

Top Five Things to Avoid with a Fussy Toddler

  • Don’t Panic! If you stay calm your neophobic (a normal stage of development when children refuse any new food on sight, normally from around 2 years of age) toddler will usually become a better eater with time. And most fussy eaters seem to stay surprisingly healthy on a limited diet
  • Don’t force feed, get cross or argue with your partner! All of these, although understandable, increase anxiety at mealtimes. Your child will then be even less likely eat the things you want them to
  • Don’t withhold liked food until they haven’t eaten what you want them to eat – it doesn’t work and they may not eat anything at all!
  • Don’t bribe and reward at mealtimes - ‘eat up your vegetable and then you can have some pudding’ makes them like the pudding more! ‘Finish what you have on your plate and you can....’ teaches them to eat more than they need. And for very fussy eaters there is no reward big enough that will make them eat cabbage!
  • Don’t put disliked foods next to liked foods. Even children as young as 2 years will find the foods that they don’t like disgusting. If you put a disliked food next to a liked food then the disgust contamination can only go one way! Anything touched will be refused.

If you’ve found these helpful, why not share with your friends? And be sure to check out our first blog, with top five things to do with a fussy toddler!

Further Reading

  • Halloween is one of the most exciting activities to celebrate for toddlers! The anticipation of dressing up in their favourite costumes and going trick or treating can be a thrilling experience, however as a parent it can be difficult to find the balance for your toddler between joining in the fun and maintaining a healthy diet. This Halloween we wanted to provide healthy, easy to make snacks that will help avoid a sugar overload while maintaining a festive atmosphere that your toddler will love! Each snack has been created for little tummies to enjoy.

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  • September means the end of the summer holidays and a return to nursery or preschool. If you send your toddler in with a lunchbox, making sure that this is varied and balanced can feel like a challenge. Our Guide to Toddler Lunchboxes is here to help, with our top tips and suggestions. Continue reading

  • Mealtimes for many parents or carers can be a stressful part of the day. But please do not lose hope! The Infant & Toddler Forum is here to guide you through some of the ‘Dos and Don’ts’ with our top tips for a happy mealtime for you and your toddler!

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