Good eating habits for a 3-year-old

Your three-year-old is more willing to try new foods than he was last year. He's certainly more open to accepting foods presented in a new or interesting way. Unleash your creativity and make meal time about fun, family and building lasting traditions.

Eating together as a family

Three-year-olds learn so much about eating and socialising at the dinner table. Studies show that children who eat at least one meal a day with their families have better vocabularies, as well as better diets. Turn off the TV during meal times and talk instead. Have meals at regular times, in a regular place like the kitchen or at the dining-room table.

Table-side manners

Teach him to say 'please,' 'thank you' and 'may I'. He should help to lay the table and clear up afterwards. He's likely to enjoy the habits and rituals of family meals.

Dealing with constipation

If your pre-schooler is having painful, hard stools or doesn't have a BM for a day or two, change his diet right away. If the problem isn't corrected in a day or two, call your healthcare provider for advice. Your child may become reluctant to use the toilet if this goes on too long.

These guidelines should make things a little easier.

  • Take steps to wean your child from her bottle, if you haven't already. Drinking from a bottle at this age could make it difficult for her to learn proper eating habits at home and at school.

  • Avoid using food as a reward or bribe for good behaviour. Studies show that this pattern leads to short-term decreases in eating and long-term battles.

  • Try and avoid small, hard foods such as hard sweets and chewing gum that could get stuck in his windpipe.

Bon appetit!

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