Toddlers and Picky Eating: It's all about Trust and Control

Justin Smith

Toddlers are an interesting bunch. They have their own plans about what they want to do and when they want to do it. And they will pick their attitude while they are doing it, thank you very much!

So, what do you do when you have a toddler who’s a picky eater?

Three basic strategies

  1. You will eat what we are eating, or you will eat nothing.
  2. You will eat what we are eating until I get worried enough, and then I will give you what you want.
  3. You will eat what you want to eat (I will make you your own meals).

Because picky eating (or at least, refusing to eat) is almost always a phase, children will survive with all three. I have seen about 1000 different strategies for handling this situation—some work for one child but would never work for another.

Ultimately, picky eating is not about eating…it’s really a matter of trust and control.

A matter of trust and control

TRUST: So, why should your toddler trust you? They’ve only known you two years.

Your child is still learning to trust that you are someone who has his or her best interest in mind. They do not know that the awful broccoli you are forcing them to try is actually good for their body in the long run. Their minds simply cannot see the big picture the way we can.

Sound familiar? Do we ever have trouble trusting that God has our best interest in mind? I know I do. Growing up I memorized that I should “trust in the Lord with all my heart (Prov 3:5),” but that’s not so easy in the moment. I know that “God works everything for good for those who love (Him) (Rom 8:28),” but when things are not going my way, it doesn’t exactly make sense.

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