It’s a scene played out in may households every day… Young children refusing to eat food, and parents getting stressed about whether the child is getting enough – bet you’ve all been there… I know I have!
Let’s look at it from a developmental point of view.
Around 14 months of age is when children learn to say, or indicate, the word: ‘no’. They will push away the bottle or spoon and refuse to take more. This is the beginning of their ability to make choices, and that’s a good thing. It is the beginning of their move toward independence. Children need to learn to make choices. And, just like us, sometimes they make ‘good’ choices and other times not. It is only though trial and error that we learn.
In the beginning, they often say ‘no’ when they mean ‘yes’, while they are learning these new words. This makes it super challenging for parents when they go to put the banana away (which the toddler just said No to) and then the toddler cries because he does want it, he just used the wrong word. Like many transitional times in children’s life, this is when they need extra understanding from us – even when it’s a challenging situation for us!