Division of Responsibility in Feeding

Adults and children each have roles when it comes to food and eating. Allowing children to do their part will help them build healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime and help prevent feeding difficulties.

The Role of a Child Care Provider is to:

  • Offer a variety of nutritious and safe foods at regular times
  • Offer foods children can feed themselves
  • Give children enough time to eat (between 15 to 30 minutes)
  • Make mealtimes pleasant and supportive which is how young children eat best
  • Do not worry about what, and how much, children are eating. Keep in mind each time a child sees food on the table, or someone eating it, they are learning and will eventually get to the point where they may eat that food
  • At the end of a meal or snack, remove any uneaten food without comment

Support Children with Self-Regulation:

  • Decide whether to eat
  • Choose what to eat from what you have offered
  • Decide how much to eat

It is important to respect and honour a child’s cues related to hunger and fullness. This will help the child develop positive feelings about food and eating. Let each child decide how much to eat, even if that means they leave food on their plate, don’t eat at all or ask for more food. This will help children listen to their bodies and eat the amount that is right for them.

For more information on this topic, visit The Ellyn Satter Institute & Trust Me. Trust My Tummy.

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