Your Preschooler's Hunger and Fullness Cues

Preschooler (24+ months)

Preschool Cues

Think about how much your little one has grown. Before now they were growing at a faster rate, so it's no surprise that they needed more to eat. Now that your itty bitty is a "big kid"—or they think they are—their growth and weight gain have slowed compared to when they were a baby and they may not need as much to eat. Sometimes it's the opposite and many may think they need more to eat than they actually do. Either way try to offer the right portion size for meals and nutrient-rich snacks to keep them on a healthy track.


It's actually a normal step in your Preschooler's emotional and social development to want to control their food. Try not to enforce a “finish your plate” rule, instead, focus on providing nutritious food choices at every meal. When your child has healthy options, they can choose what and how much to eat. And if they refuse to eat their veggies today, it’s okay. After a little while your little one may taste them and love them, so keep on offering them healthy options no matter what.



So, how do you tell when to feed your child?


You can look out for these feeding cues to know if your Preschooler is hungry.


  • They are interested in eating when it’s time to eat.
  • Your little one expresses desires for specific foods with words and sounds.
  • They seem tired and irritable if they get too hungry.
  • Your child searches out specific foods in the kitchen that they like.
  • They come to the meal table without a lot of fuss.
  • They are influenced by how you eat and the food you select.



How to tell if your Preschooler is full


These early years are when healthy eating habits are established so it is important to pay attention to your child’s fullness cues.


  • They aren't interested in what’s on the plate.
  • Your little one verbalizes in simple sentences that they are all done.
  • They are unwilling to come to the table if they're not hungry.
  • Your kiddo leaves the table on their own.



Ask your pediatrician when you have a question or concern


Your pediatrician is always a good person to speak with if you have questions about your Preschooler's development. They can answer one-on-one questions about your child's unique needs.