One of the most challenging parts of parenting a toddler is getting food from the plate to your child's mouth. Little ones at this stage are way too busy to eat, food is just plain yucky and way more fun to play with than it is to eat. It is frustrating to convince your toddler to eat, but there are some things that you can do to increase the chance of food landing in his tummy instead of on the floor.

Things You Will Need

Healthy foods

Step 1

Offer healthy foods. Don't give in to the demands of your little tyrant and serve chicken nuggets and fries constantly. That type of food is fine on occasion, but if you aren't careful you will end up with an incredibly picky eater on your hands, not to mention the total lack of nutrition in highly processed foods.

Step 2

Remove all distractions. Make meal times an event with everyone eating at the table and no television blaring. Family mealtimes are a great way to bring the family together and your child will appreciate the one on one attention.

Step 3

Don't eliminate snacks to get your toddler to eat more at mealtimes. Little ones need to eat often because their stomachs are small, so offer a healthy snack two or three times a day. Make sure that you space snacks appropriately, however, at least an hour before mealtime.

Step 4

Give them dip. It doesn't really matter what it is, toddlers love to dip things. You can make healthy fruit and vegetable dips, but if that doesn't work ketchup or ranch dressing are almost always hits.

Step 5

Don't freak out. If your toddler isn't eating as much as you would like, don't make a big deal out of it. Just keep offering regular, healthy meals and snacks and eventually your little one will start to eat. There are no known cases of a toddler starving himself to death, so try not to worry about it.

Step 6

Never force feed. It's a bad idea and can set your child up for lifelong issues with food. If you are concerned enough to consider force feeding it's time to pay a visit to the pediatrician to put your mind at ease.
Feeding a toddler can wreak havoc on your nerves and has the potential to drive you insane, but if you make an effort to relax things will go much more smoothly. Learn to laugh at the messes and just have fun with your child, this time goes by so quickly. Oh, and don't forget to take some pictures of that spaghetti covered face, it could come in handy during the teenage years!

Tips & Warnings

Stay away from the brightly colored, fun shaped foods that are marketed to toddlers, they are highly processed and full of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Let your toddler help you prepare food and explain a little about where each food comes from, how it grows, etc.
Try cutting sandwiches, fruit, veggies, etc. into fun shapes.