Home > Parenting > Child > Body 09 April 2001 Toddler not eating? 5 things to do Remind yourself that unless there is an underlying medical problem, if your toddler won’t eat, it is because mealtimes have become a battle of the wills between the two of you. 0 ASK The Paediatrician » Follow Health24 on Facebook » Quiz Are you ready for a baby? » Subscribe Parenting newsletter » 10 interesting Down syndrome facts Autistic savant 'reads minds' Five things to do: Remind yourself that unless there is an underlying medical problem, if your toddler won’t eat, it is because mealtimes have become a battle of the wills between the two of you. Your child is fighting for a certain independence, which is typical of this age group. The tendency is towards five to six meals a day. Try to feed your child at the same time every day for breakfast, dinner and supper, with mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack times. Keep the snacks and meals as healthy as possible. Rather give your child foods with a lower Glycemic Index (wholewheat grains, fruits and other food stuff rich in fibre) than refined and sweet snacks, chocolates, cake or chips. Make it clear that it is the child’s choice whether to eat or not. If it has not happened within 20 minutes or so, say that you are removing the food and do so. Make this "real" food available as soon as the child complains about hunger or wants something to eat. Don’t be manipulated into giving other snacks, unless it is healthy snacks like fruit and not sweets, chips or other fast foods. It will be hard, but you can help your child discover healthier food options. Be firm, patient and kind. Stick to what you have said you are going to do, otherwise your child is going to start to associate food with emotional issues, which could cause problems later in life. At the best of times, food can be an emotional issue. Don’t allow the dinner table to become a battleground. Choose foods which you know your child likes, but don’t be manipulated into preparing different foods which are then rejected in succession by your child. Power is the issue here, not what you have prepared. Compare this to a child who only wants the toy her sister is currently enjoying. NEXT ON HEALTH24X Childcare workers need to follow hand-washing guidelines 2016-12-02 10:40 More: ChildBody advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... From our sponsors Sun protection for all children Understanding your sunscreen The science behind cosmeceuticals Do you know these 5 facts about skincare? Live healthier The debate continues » Working out in the concrete jungle 7 top butt exercises for guys 10 things pole dancing can do for you The running vs. walking debate There are many different theories when it comes to the running vs. walking for health and weight loss. Veganism a crime? » Running the Comrades Marathon on a vegan diet Are vegans unnatural beasts? Can a vegan be really healthy? Should it be a crime to raise a baby on vegan food? After a number of cases of malnourishment in Italy, it may become a crime to feed children under 16 a vegan diet.