Eating Behaviors and Challenges in Child Care

Infant eating baby food

Feeding young children healthy, well-balanced meals and snacks supports their growth and development. But what can a child care provider do when children suddenly stop eating, or refuse to try new foods, or insist on eating one specific thing for every meal? The following articles address typical changes in young children’s eating habits and food preferences at different ages, and provide some tips for ensuring that children develop healthy attitudes about food.

Typical Eating Behaviors in Young Children

Toddler eating roll

Dealing with eating challenges such as picky eaters and food “strikes” is a common challenge in child care. Remember that children grow at different rates, and their appetites, food preferences and eating habits change as they get older.

When you’re caring for a group of children, how do you know what eating behaviors are typical? Here are some of the most common milestones.

Ages 1-2

  • Has less appetite as growth slows
  • Is weaned from breast or bottle, especially during the

Helping Children in Child Care Learn Healthy Eating Habits

Children eating at red table

Child care providers play an important role in supporting young children who are overweight and obese. Teaching healthy food choices will give children an important tool to maintain a healthy weight as they grow. Here are a few ideas for child care providers trying to help young children feel good about their bodies and maintain a healthy body weight.

  • Remember that children come in all sizes. Children who are large or small for their age may be teased by their