• Mary Carlson Pap

Guiding Toddlers to Make Healthy Choices

Updated: Nov 27, 2020

Since your toddler’s world revolves around you, there’s no better time to take advantage of his undivided attention by teaching him to make healthy food choices. Here are some tips from The Potty Fairy to help your little one learn good habits at a tender age.

Learn About Food

Everyone can shop! Using a shopping trip as an opportunity to get him involved. He can pick what fruit and which cheese to buy. Let her smell and feel the produce and perhaps pick out something new to add to the week’s menu. And if you’re worried about the cost of all that fresh produce, save some money by purchasing only what is in season.

Visit the source! When the berries begin to ripen, take your kids to the local u-pick farm. Pick apples, pears, or peaches in the orchard, or take a basket for berry picking. Another option is to take everyone to the farmers market and introduce them to the people who grow what they eat.

Plant a garden! You don’t need to transform into Farmer McGreggor, but you can plant a few tomatoes or melons. If your yard is small, try container gardening. Encourage your little one to help you plant, weed, water, and pick the veggies once they’re ripe.

Snack healthfully! When you make sugary, salty snacks available, they’ll always be the first to go, so stock healthy treats instead. When you’re on the go, sliced apples, carrot sticks, raisins, sliced grapes, air-popped popcorn, and multigrain crackers are perfect mobile options.

Channel their hunger! Use meal and snack times as teachable moments to encourage healthy choices. For the best success, always give your kiddo choices, keep presenting the same food. Sometimes it takes a while before she won’t reject it. And finally be a good role model. Seattle Children’s Hospital suggests offering a good variety, allow kids to experiment and savor, and include patience and persistence in your healthy eating plan.

Cultivate a Stress-Free Home Environment

When your home’s less stressed, everyone’s happier. You can boost your child’s confidence and self-esteem just through positive words and actions. Encouragement, constructive feedback, and constructive praise yield much better results than criticism. Redfin points out that it also helps to address physical aspects of the environment that can contribute to stress, like dirt and clutter. Do a deep cleaning, tidy up, and open windows to let in fresh air.

It makes sense to declutter your life while you’re at it. We live in an era in which there are more helpful innovations for parenting than ever before. Look into smart home gadgets, like monitors and thermometers, that improve caregiving, and wearables like PottyPants, which help kids master potty training intuitively.

Your kids also see how you cope with stress, so model healthy methods for dealing with stress, and give them the right tools to manage their stress, too. Make sure that everyone gets plenty of rest. Share feelings, and encourage your kids to share theirs, too. Add an unplug rule for the whole family each day, and take time to really connect with the clan. Build in daily one-on-one time with everyone.

Keep Your Home Safe

Take the following preventative steps to keep kids safe, including keeping grown-up belongings such as alcohol or firearms tucked away from grabby hands.

Windows. Over 15,000 children fall out of windows each year. Install safety bars, window

guards, or window stops. Move dangling blind and shade cords out of reach, and keep cribs

away from windows. Use cordless window coverings in children’s rooms.

Stairs. Once your kiddo is mobile, her chances of falling increase exponentially. Secure the tops and bottoms of staircases with gates until she’s sure-footed. Cover sharp edges of tables to protect her head if she falls into them.

Paint. If your home is over 40 years old, its walls may have lead paint. You can hire a contractor who’s certified in removing lead materials safely.

Medicines, cosmetics, and cleaning supplies. Kids are curious critters — lock away and keep out of reach all cleaners, pesticides, fertilizers, medications, nail polish remover, perfumes, bath oils, mouthwash, aftershave, and vitamins.

Making Good Choices

Every parent wants to raise resourceful, well-behaved children. It’s never too early to start

training kids to make good choices; they’ll understand their needs, have control over their lives, and develop internal discipline, organization, and prioritization.

Look to The Potty Fairy for more tips, and inspirations for your parenting journey!

Photo credit: Pixabay

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