An independent young child

  • A well-coordinated Toddler now runs well without falling and can stand on tiptoes.
  • He may have discovered how to kick a ball and throw it overhand.
  • Feeding skills include mastering how to use a spoon and fork.
  • Independent eating is a big achievement, which he seems to enjoy.

He’s off! Your older Toddler is more coordinated and seems to love running and jumping. He’s in control of his movements and it’s so much more fun doing things on his own. The high chair is gone, replaced by a booster seat which makes it oh-so-easy to feed himself and join in the family meal. He’s feeling very confident striking out on his own.

Progress at the table
What’s happening at the table is big progress. The molars are in and his chewing skills have improved in a few ways. For example, he knows a piece of chicken means  chewing differently than if it was a scrambled egg. He also knows how to adjust his jaw, opening wider for a thick waffle compared to a piece of pasta. Plus, his tongue easily wipes extra food from the lips, making cleanup a little easier. Though mealtime may still drag on, it does take him less chews and time to finish his food. He’s drinking from an open cup and quite good with a spoon, actually getting the food into his mouth.

Did you know?

Your Toddler at 2+ automatically knows that he has to chew scrambled eggs quite differently than cooked chicken.

A mind of his own

As the second and third birthdays approach, your Toddler‘s eating habits may vary and you may find he’s become more cautious about what he’s willing to eat.

Expect this at 24 to 36 months

  • Older Toddlers can be fussy, refusing foods they used to enjoy.
  • An unpredictable appetite that usually balances out over several days.
  • Much less dribbling when drinking from an open cup.
  • Better skill using a fork and spoon.

Expect this at 36+ months

  • Drinking skills soar. Tilts his head back, with cup to the sky, getting the very last drop.
  • Leans in toward his food and willingly chews; his pace of eating speeds up, more in sync with the rest of the family.
  • Likes helping Mom with easy prep work, setting the table and cleanup; this reinforces his skills and helps him learn his place in the family.
How was the information in this article?

Plan your child's menus

Eating like a grown-up
Your healthy eating Toddler 2+
Toddler2+ developmental milestones
Healthy Eating Habits

Test your technique, finesse your feeding style

What’s missing in the older Toddler diet?
Toddler 2+ food group guide
Your older Toddler's big gains
Truth or Myth?

Baby milestones: Gerber's nutrition journey