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8 mistakes parents make with toddlers

Got a toddler? Avoid these 9 parenting mistakes.

5. Using food as a reward

"If you say, ‘Eat up your greens and you can have a pudding’, what you do is you raise the value of the pudding in the toddlers mind and lower the value of the greens or the savoury course, which is not a healthy eating message you want to give to a toddler," says Judy More, a freelance paediatric dietitian. "And by using food for rewards and treats, you set them up for comfort eating later on."

Solution: If you want to give your toddler a reward, make the reward your time or playing a game with them, rather than a food reward, otherwise you may be setting them up for obesity later on.

6. Serving only toddler food

Does your toddler seem to eat nothing but chicken nuggets and chips? Does your child refuse to eat fish? As some parents realise too late, toddlers fed a steady diet of nutritionally iffy kid's foods may resist eating anything else.

Solution: Encourage your child to try ‘grown-up’ food. "Toddlers learn by copying, so it is up to parents to model the behaviours they would like their toddlers to adopt," says Judy. "Eat with your toddler as often as possible and eat the foods you would like them to learn to like. Be patient though as toddlers prefer familiar food and may not be prepared to try foods parents are eating until they have seen their parents eating them at several different meals."

7. Letting a toddler drink from a bottle for too long

The vast majority of toddlers still use a bottle well past the age of one. This can lead to tooth decay, tooth misalignment, iron deficiency and even obesity.

Solution: "In order to encourage your child to stop drinking from a bottle by age one (the recommended cut-off point) you should introduce a cup from six months of age," advises Angela. "The best cups are free flow ones as they are better for baby’s teeth. If your toddler refuses to drink from a cup, make sure you only offer what is needed - two bottles of milk a day (approximately 500ml) or water and limit the number of times that he or she has access to the bottle in order to prevent frequent sipping."

Also, brush your toddler’s teeth daily and never allow him or her to take a bottle to bed.

8. Starting potty training too late

The optimum age to potty train is around the age of two and training later or earlier can significantly extend the time it takes to get it right. As a child gets older, they can become dependent on nappies because they find it more convenient to let a parent clear up the mess than have their play disrupted to go to the toilet.

Solution: " Potty training isn’t something children will do by themselves; it has to be taught, like brushing teeth and preparing for potty training is an important first stage," says Judith Hough, co-author of How to Potty Train. "There are a number of ways to do this, including starting to change the nappy in the bathroom as this is where grown-ups go, and saying when a nappy is wet and when it is dry to help them learn."


Reviewed on June 10, 2016

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