Myths and Truths - Toddlers

How often are old wives’ tales about children true?

Never true Always true

No one knows where old wives’ tales come from. They gather steam over years under different names: myths, folk tales or fables. Moms are left to listen, reflect and determine if they are harmless or damaging.

Read on to decide if these common myths are harmless or damaging for you and your toddlers.

Myth: It is wise to have a “one-bite rule” for all foods.

Truth: Some people feel the “one-bite rule” helps toddlers learn to like new foods, but the opposite is true. Instead, offer food without pressure, encouragement or comments. Trust your little ones to know how much, or if, to eat.

Mealtimes change lives. Families gather together to talk about everything and nothing. Bonds are built. Love is served. Toddlers feel connected. Peaceful family mealtimes come to a screeching halt when the “one-bite rule” is applied. Asking toddlers to taste foods, even one bite, stops happy mealtime memories and peace.

Wise moms walk away from the one-bite battle.

Myth: Moms who are “special-order cooks” help their toddlers to be better eaters.

Truth: Special-order cooking means cooking different meals for everyone. It is the opposite of family meals where people sit together and eat the same thing.

“Special-order cook” alert: Making separate meals enables picky eating.

Toddlers are unlikely to try different foods if they can get their favorites prepared for them instead. Offering one meal that your family enjoys together teaches toddlers to be flexible and take risks.

Preparing just one meal for the entire family to enjoy together is not tough love or heartless. Occasionally, prepare toddlers’ favorite foods to serve to the whole family. Offer something they enjoy eating, like fruit or rice, with a new food. It may take time, but eventually toddlers learn to like a wide variety of foods.

Myth: Use mealtimes to discipline toddlers’ actions and talk about manners.

Truth: Mealtimes are about giving love, not just food. Discipline and lectures can wait until later. Family mealtime only lasts a few short minutes. Choose to be happy. Leave problems (and phones) at the door. Include everyone in the conversation. Listen to each family member. Smile and reflect on the love shared by your family. (Note: Families come in all configurations, including solo moms and toddlers.)

Toddlers are sponges, absorbing all they see and hear. Let your kind words and actions inspire your little ones to be like you.

Myth: Toddlers will starve if they choose to not eat or skip a meal.

Truth: Toddlers eat when they are hungry and stop when they are satisfied. That seems perfectly logical to toddlers but not always to their parents. They worry toddlers will starve rather than trust them to know how much, or if, they want to eat.

When it comes to eating, kids know best. Insisting toddlers eat when they are not hungry can lead to mealtime struggles. Do your part by offering a variety of foods. Let toddlers do their part by deciding how much to eat.

Consider these tips as you offer family-style meals to your toddler:

Be a super mom and join the MomCircle app!

MomCircle was created for parents like you who want to be the best version of themselves for their children. Download the MomCircle app for 24/7 access to inspiring and informative content that supports the great mom that you are.