A toddler is a bundle of energy. They are always on the go, and they want to explore their surroundings. This can be especially difficult for parents to pack up their children, drop them off at a care facility, and then head back to work. It’s important that your little one eats while you’re gone, so they stay healthy, but sometimes it can be hard for toddlers to take food when they are in an unfamiliar environment with new people. This blog post will give you tips on how to make eating easier for your little one.
Don't Force Feed Them
Sometimes parents feel like they need to hold their kids hostage at a childcare facility until they take food. This isn’t healthy or productive, and it can lead to stress for both the parents and the daycare provider. If your child doesn’t want to take food, it’s okay if they don’t. Some children aren’t that into food, and that’s totally fine. Instead, supply a snack.
If you know your child will be going to daycare on a full stomach, pack them some snacks from home that they can consume when it’s time for their meal. This is especially helpful if the little one has a favorite food they want but won’t typically take whatever is being served at a care facility. Not forcing the kid to consume food can be a lot easier on everyone. Therefore, stay positive if your toddler is having a difficult time at daycare, let them know it’s okay, and everything will be fine.
Make sure you tell the little one that they can go back home with you if they don’t want to take food there anymore. Keeping your child in the loop on what is going on will make them less stressed out.
Visit the Childcare Center at Mealtimes
If you’re able to visit the daycare at lunchtime, you can give your child their favorite toys and snacks. This will help them feel more comfortable, making it easier for them to consume what they want. You can also visit the nursing facility at breakfast and dinner time. It never hurts to chat with the facility provider and your little one and give them a quick visit. A visit from you is always a good idea because it will help your child feel more comfortable away from home.
Inform Staff About Your Child’s Favorite Food
Even if you don’t visit the nursing facility during mealtime, you can give the provider a list of snacks your child likes to take at home. Daycares usually allow children to bring food from home since every kid is different and has different eating habits. Providing a list of easy-to-eat snacks can help your child settle in faster and consume what they want when the time comes.
Prepare for Pick Up
One way to make eating easier is by preparing ahead of time. If you know your toddler won’t take food at a care center, make sure there’s something in their bag when you drop them off. This prevents stress at pick-up times when your child is hangry, and you only have 15 minutes before your next meeting.
Develop their Self-Regulation Eating Skills
If your toddler doesn’t consume food at the childcare center, it can be because they are developing their self-regulation skills. This means they don’t take food because they know when they are hungry and when to stop eating. This is an immense skill for all people to develop since it helps them stay healthy throughout the years. If you feel like your child is purposefully not eating, discuss this with the daycare provider.
Match Home & Childcare Center Feeding Time
If possible, follow the same feeding schedule at home as you do at a childcare center. Even if your child doesn’t take much food during mealtimes, it’s still essential for them to take food 5-6 times a day. Mealtime is a perfect time for bonding and snuggling with mom or dad, so don’t skip it just because they don’t consume much food.
Don’t Spoil Their Appetite
If possible, make sure your child eats a well-balanced diet before you drop them off. If they get hungry, you know they ate enough at mealtime and aren’t hungry because of hunger pangs. They’ll be able to eat what the care center provider gives them without feeling too hungry, and it won’t be as difficult for them.
Keep Your Child Emotionally & Physically Well
One of the best ways to help your child feel comfortable at a childcare center is by keeping them emotionally and physically well. If they are comfortable, it’ll be easier for them to take food when their body is hungry. Take care of yourself so you can take care of your child.
To sum it up, remember that everyone is different and has different eating habits. If your child doesn’t consume much food at the child care facility, it might be because they are developing their self-regulation skills. It might also help to provide snacks from home and visit the care facility during mealtime. Above all, keep your child emotionally and physically healthy so they can take food when hungry.