Decoding A Toddler

The Princess has become a handful ever since she entered the Terrible Twos stage. But as we go along and observe what works and what doesn’t, I realized that it doesn’t have to be that bad — parents just need to understand toddlers.

Here are three things that worked for us:

My toddler is a picky eater.

The Princess is very hard to please when it comes to food. She doesn’t like anything dry unless it’s fried chicken, nuggets or fries. To veer her away from fried and processed food, I make meals that look interesting and taste good (of course).

Mom On DutySource

She especially loves soupy meals like Sinigang, Tinola, Nilaga and Afritada. The Princess’ favorite, though, is spaghetti. To make it healthier, I add mushrooms and carrots to the sauce instead of ground meat and hotdog.

The trick is to find out what your toddler loves to eat and serve those for her meals (add veggies and fruits as much as possible).

My toddler won’t finish her meal!

I often find myself asking whether The Princess is getting enough nutrients because she doesn’t usually finish her meals. I used to sit in front of her high chair and tell her firmly to finish her meal or else she won’t be allowed to go down. This led to fits and raised voices. I also noticed that this only made her not look forward to meal times.

And so I tried a different approach. Our little ones have tiny tummies that can hold only a small amount of food at a time. To encourage The Princess to finish her meal, I started giving her smaller portions of food and only served more if she asked for another round.

Since she eats smaller portions, I made meal times more frequent by adding healthy snacks (instead of a bottle of milk) in between the “main” meals of the day. I also make sure that she gets extra protection from illnesses through her chewable vitamins.

My toddler wants everything… and she wants them NOW!

This can be very frustrating for parents — especially when we’re busy with work or chores. We want to get things done, but with a toddler throwing tantrums every time we ask for a few minutes, getting things done can be impossible sometimes.

Our number one rule is to prioritize the kids over anything else. BUT, if we are doing something urgent (i.e. I have a client call), I divert The Princess’ attention somewhere else. Sometimes I offer her a piece of paper and crayons. If that doesn’t work, I let her pick an educational DVD from her collection and I let her watch it. I’ve also tried putting a timer in front of her and would let her watch time tick. The last one’s funny, but it works!

How do/did you change the Terrible Twos to Terrific Twos?

Kimberley Reyes

Kimberley Reyes is an Online Business Manager for entrepreneurs who are ready to get off the hamster wheel and step into their CEO shoes. On top of helping her clients get organized and scale their businesses, she is also happily busy raising her five kids with her firefighter husband.

This Post Has 10 Comments

  1. Krisna Mesa

    Yan din ang problem ko kay Y. Nahihirapan na akong pakainin siya and kapag ayaw niya, ayaw niya talaga. When she wants something naman hindi rin siya titigil hanggat hindi ko nabibigay. Ang hirap. Pero at the end of the day lamang pa rin talaga yung sweetness at pagiging innocent niya kaya looking forward na naman ako sa mga adventures namin 2 the next day.:D

  2. Denise Rayala

    Whenever she gets sick, I tell her that she has to eat healthy foods so she could prevent from being so. I think it helps, too that she learns it from school and videos in YouTube! 🙂 I still let her have hotdogs, sodas and all that junk when I’m also craving.

  3. Denise Rayala

    Feeding a toddler was a real patience-tester for parents, especially moms! When mine was two, she actually ate most of what we ate. She was my copy-cat. But boy, when she turned 3, was she the pickiest ever! All she wanted was scrambled egg, nuggets and soy sauce (of adobo). Now that she’s turning 5, she’s beginning to appreciate the real essence of eating — and that is to be healthy. 🙂

    1. Mom On Duty

      How exactly did you teach her to appreciate the real essence of eating? I’m afraid that our little girl might get too used to fried food and rice with sabaw that we won’t get her to eat healthier meals later on.

  4. serene shikukeza

    Count me in! I tried a lot of ways to make them finish their food. Good thing my daughter isn’t on that stage yet but my son is. I’ve read somewhere else that we shouldn’t force daw our kids to finish their meal kase later on in their life daw they would always be forced to into some decisions other than them. Forgot na kung saan ko nabasa yun. What I do is small servings na din and also soups. Now, nag eexpirement ako ng bento meals. Little by little it works naman. And also the waiting thing, my son also was like that pero later on I tried to make him wait and let him sit on a chair and make him busy. Meron na naman kase ako nabasa na if we don’t teach kids the virtue of patience later on din daw they will be used to getting what they want other than needs. Hirap maging parent noh?

    1. Mom On Duty

      Yes, I remember reading somewhere, too, that it’s not good to force kids to finish their meal. I’m looking into preparing bento meals as well. Maybe if the plate looks interesting, she’d be encouraged to eat. 😀

  5. Patty | MrsC

    When my son was in the toddler stage, he really enjoyed spaghetti and soupy rice too. I made sure to put carrots in my spaghetti sauce and also a lot of green leafy veggies in our sinigang and nilaga. I also substituted pork sinigang with fish using tilapia fillet for variation. He would only eat small portions coz you’re right, these kiddos have small tummies. So I would always keep sliced fruits or biscuits nearby while we play. Usually when he would see them, he’d realize he was hungry and he’d have some. 🙂

  6. Pink MagaLine

    Arrrghh! I have the same feeding problem with my daughter. Good thing tho that she eats fruits everyday and she would snack on veggies from time to time. Mind you, we had spaghetti today and it is also one of her favorite meals pero di pa din nya inubos ang food nya. May tyempo din talaga ang pagiging picky nya!

  7. Mai

    I’m getting these attitudes from my four-year old! I guess it’s because she’s the youngest and I baby her so much unlike her other siblings. There are more and adjectives to describe our kids as they age and somehow they sounds cute noh? Either positive or negative ones (terrific/terrible) ^-^

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