Category Archives: Self-Help – Challenge

No Pressure Dinner

Your little person is now feeding herself.

It’s a wonderful task full of self-esteem. Never hesitate to give her a lot of praise as she is eating. Sometimes toddlers only get attention when they won’t eat something, and she thrives on your praise. If she only gets attention when she’s not eating she may refuse food solely to get attention from you. A toddler often thinks, as the saying goes, ‘any attention is good attention.’

If she doesn’t eat much at one meal, that’s okay! Never insist that she finish everything on her plate- this can make her anxious about food. Here are a couple of tips to create a healthy eater.

If your toddler doesn’t finish her food simply take away the uneaten portion without saying anything. If you feel frustrated that your toddler hasn’t finished the meal you’ve carefully prepared for her, keep in mind that she is learning to do things for herself; and that includes knowing when she is full. You are allowing your toddler to take important steps towards her very important independence. I promise she will not go hungry.

With this independence and your approval, she will eat all by herself.

Be consistent. This process takes at least 3 months, by the time she is 4 years old she will probably be a good eater.

Soothe

The ‘self-soothing’ argument is an outdated rationalization.

Research on brain development shows that babies don’t learn to self-soothe by being put down. They learn not to depend on others, because no one will come when they call. Babies learn to self-soothe by being comforted, which teaches them not to panic and to realize that their emotions are manageable. Being soothed when they cry actually changes the brain chemistry and neural connections so that babies learn to soothe themselves.

All babies benefit from a certain amount of time to play independently, and to watch you from a safe place as you chop the onions for dinner or take a shower. Your job is to care for the baby, your own health, and well-being.

Babies learn how to be alone and do their own ‘work’ by being in your presence but not interacting, and that’s an important developmental task for all babies to master. Allow baby to sit in a swing and have some time alone to visually explore their world. Always be in line of sight. Dependency is the natural state of small humans, and feeling safe is essential to early development.

But don’t worry, many babies want you to put them down well before they can crawl, so they can explore and start tearing up your house.