Hi, welcome to Toddler Feeding Scenarios. This brief module is offered as a complement to early care and education college courses that cover health, safety, and nutrition. It's not meant to be exhaustive, but simply to highlight some important best practices and key information, as well as to provide you with additional resources.
As young children grow and develop, allowing them to have an appropriate amount of control and choice in their lives is healthy. Applying this concept to feeding and mealtime is just as important as applying it to other domains. In the infant feeding module, we introduced you to the concept of responsive feeding.
This can be extended into the toddler years by applying the division of responsibility and feeding developed by dietician Ellen Satter. In this model, adults and children have separate and distinct roles and responsibilities when it comes to feeding and eating. Adults provide the structured and supportive mealtime environment which includes the foods as well as the physical and emotional setting where children can be relaxed and enjoy the foods and the human connections.
Children, on the other hand, are responsible for choosing whether they will eat any or all of the foods offered, as well as how much they will eat. In this way, we continue to build on the trust developed in infancy and support children in continuing to follow their internal hunger and fullness cues.
There are nuances to this model that you can learn about by visiting the Ellen Satter Institute, linked in the resources, and reviewing the daily routines module. As you consider how you will create a structured and supportive mealtime environment, please refrain from coercion, bribing, or forcing children to eat or even taste foods. This pressured strategy leads to stress and limits a child's ability to participate in learning about and testing new things. Utilizing a family style meal service, whether you offer meals or snacks or both, offers a wonderful opportunity to support children's healthy growth and development in a number of domains beyond health and nutrition.
Learning to set the table, serve themselves, passing to others, and communication skills can all be included in your lesson planning. These are the best practice areas we'll cover in today's module. Please keep in mind all that you know about child development as we review common mealtime and feeding behaviors for toddlers.
What might at first seem like problems may be developmentally appropriate child behaviors or deeper concerns that when viewed in the context of the child's overall growth and development may be in need of additional support. As we discussed briefly in the infant feeding module, children should be physically able to use a cup for drinking around six months of age.
It's around this time that they learn to seal their lower lip on the edge of the cup. Infants may need assistance with the cup as they are still developing their fine motor skills that would be needed to lift the cup or hold the cup at their mouth. Toddlers may also need assistance, but developmentally may want to try this skill on their own.
Even though there's a pretty good chance for spills, toddlers should be encouraged to drink from a cup rather than a bottle. And dentists recommend that the cup should not have a lid. Cups with lids, sometimes called sippy cups, can negatively affect children's teeth.
An important milestone for young children is learning about new textures in food. The foods consumed by infants early in life tend to be very smooth and mostly liquid. Introducing older infants and young toddlers to a variety of soft foods with different textures helps them learn about those foods and textures and explore what they like and do not like. These examples are great starter textures using healthy foods that can be worked into your menu and also into your lesson plans.