Your Toddler’s hunger & fullness cues
- Testing his independence, your Toddler wants more control over his food.
- May lose his energy, get impatient or throw a tantrum if hunger takes over.
- Playing with food and making a mess at the high chair usually means he’s full and mealtime is over.
Knowing when to feed
Your Toddler wants to be heard. Expressing his desire to eat and having you respond is important to his social and emotional development. Accommodate him best as possible, but don’t let him make the rules.
- Resorts to crying, fussiness, banging toys and temper tantrums if hunger takes over.
- Sounds, words and hand gestures are ways to get your attention and say “I’m hungry."
- Enthusiastically reaches for food wanting to feed himself.
- Expresses desire for specific foods with words or gestures.
Your Toddler is learning independence,
so feeding himself is a great way to practice.
Knowing when he’s full
Being independent means letting you know very clearly that he’s done eating and wants to move on. Your Toddler will shift gears, becoming uninterested in his food from one bite to the next. It’s his way of making decisions and taking control.
- Turns away or shakes his head to say “no more” or “all done."
- Playing with or throwing food means mealtime is over. It’s playtime!
- Covers his mouth or face with his hands.
- May cross arms to show refusal of more food.
- Chewing slows down and his attention is off somewhere else.
- May spit out foods that he usually likes.
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