Is your toddler a fussy eater? Find out the reason why

Is your toddler a fussy eater? Let’s find out why!

Don’t worry. Being fussy, refusing food is a normal stage of their development.

They are less hungry between the age of 2 and 3 as their growth slows down. Experts agree that this rarely leads to eating disorders and they will grow out of it soon.

Still, we need to talk about it, as the way you react to it and deal with it is very important. And I am here to help you as much as I can to make it easier for you and for your children.

Many of us get frustrated if our effort in the kitchen goes to waste… and, we get worried if our children do not eat enough or completely refuse certain food or occasionally the whole plate.

First, I would like you to understand why toddlers can be fussy eaters. If you know the reason it will make everything so much easier.


The possible reasons why your toddler is a fussy eater

Food neophobia:

As we, humans evolved, we developed a fear of potentially dangerous and unsafe food. This called food neophobia. Many toddlers have got mild food neophobia when they are afraid of trying out new food. This is a phase, so you should not be worrying about it too much. Moreover, it is a good thing as this fear of food could stop your toddlers eating whatever it is in their way.

Showing independence:

Independence is an essential life skill. Children try to be independent from the very beginning and they can be very strong-willed sometimes around the age of 2. This is when a fussy eater can most likely to be born. Toddlers may refuse to try out new food or they might eat something one day and spit it out on the other day. They want to show you, that they are the ones who decide what to eat and when. They basically test your limit of authority.

Hidden problems:

You might want to think of something that could trigger your children’s pickiness about food.

For example:

  • Getting ill or hidden medical issue: refusing food can be a sign of getting down with something
  • A need of attention: if they don’t get enough attention they might refuse food to make you angry and, in a way, to get more attention from you
  • Bad memories: bad memories with food such as choking or forced eating
  • Change in family life: moving, the arrival of a new sibling, starting nursery, death in the family and so on


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Hi, it's Eva and I am an Early Years and Parenting Consultant. Here, I am sharing my knowledge about child development and experience in teaching. Have a look around and follow me on SNS to keep in touch!

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