There are not many things about raising a toddler that mom would say is “easy.” Toddlers can be adorable and sweet, but they can also be a little ball of emotions that are willing to explode at any moment. This is all developmentally normal, and toddlers are meant to act a certain way because they do not have the skills needed to navigate this big world.
They are prone to having emotional outbursts because they don’t know how to navigate and express the emotions that they are feeling inside. This is a skill that takes time and coaching.
It is mom’s job to help her toddler navigate their emotions. This is through teaching, or just providing a safe space to encourage and grow. That doesn’t mean that mom doesn’t want some ways to help avoid them.
Mealtimes can be a struggle for a mom with a toddler. They either don’t want to sit at the table and eat, because they would rather be playing, or they refuse to eat anything mom makes unless it is chicken nuggets or macaroni and cheese.
These power struggles at mealtime can be challenging for a mom who just wants to make sure her toddler is getting all the nutrients they need, but they can happen. If mom wants some help dealing with these power struggles, and avoiding them all together, this is the piece for her.
A Few Things To Know
It is important that we take a quick refresher on toddlers and mealtimes so that we can understand that these behaviors are completely normal and that most moms go through them at some point.
According to Kids Health, toddlers are naturally “picky eaters.” They are exploring the world around them, and they are also learning how to be independent. They have now realized that they are their own person, separate from mom, and food is the easiest way for them to assert their independence.
An important thing to remember is that if a toddler doesn’t want to eat food, they are not going to. A basic understanding and acceptance of this could be enough to end power struggles.
As we mentioned, a big part of ending and dealing with power struggles with toddlers is accepting what is in front of us. Since we are adults, we are going to find changing our attitude a lot easier than asking our toddlers to do it.
According to Parenting, it is important to remember that moms are responsible for providing healthy meals, but it is the toddlers’ role in deciding how much they are going to eat. This is not going to be something that mom can control, and accepting that is the first step.
Toddlers Will Model What They See
If mom doesn’t want to become a short-order cook, she is going to be hesitant to make her toddler something different from the rest of the family. This is a choice that will be made by each individual mom. Some moms will make their toddlers their own meals since they know that they are (at least) eating something.
However, for moms who want their toddlers to eat what they are, make sure everyone is having meals together. They are sitting at the table every night, and everyone is eating the same food. Toddlers will model behavior, and they are going to be more likely to eat something if everyone else is.
It is important not to make it a big deal and to not hound them to eat what is on their plate. Just sit there and pretend they don’t exist, and they may surprise you by taking a few bites.
How To Avoid It In The Future
When we think about mealtime struggles, we often think of the moment. We also need to be thinking about what we can do before meals to make sure that there is not a power struggle at the dinner table.
According to Baby Center, there are a few things that mom can do to make sure that mealtimes go as smoothly as possible. Mom will want to pay attention when she is giving her child snacks. Avoid giving toddlers snacks too close to mealtime, because you want them to be nice and hungry at dinner time.
It is also OK to let them have some independence when it comes to food. This can help fill that need they have, but it is monitored. Have them pick out healthy foods at the grocery store, and ask them what they want for dinner. If they say macaroni and cheese (again), maybe it could be a side dish, but there will be other items on the plate.
Sources: Kids Health, Parenting, Baby Center