What can I do to make my parenting responsibilities more manageable?
Talking to other parents about the joys and difficulties of raising kids can help. As we learned from talking to hundreds of parents to help us write these tips, parents are full of useful, practical ideas for handling the biggest challenges.
Let other parents help you.
Remember: You are not the only parent thinking about how to encourage healthy eating. You can help each other. Talk to other parents to find out how they get their toddlers to eat healthy foods.
Parent 2 Parent
"When I get tired of the meals I regularly make, I ask friends for ideas about quick and healthy dinners their kids like."
Routines are a good thing!
One way to help you and your toddler stay healthy and happy is to stick to a routine. When your child knows what to expect, she’ll be less likely to have a temper tantrum. Establishing routines for mealtime, playtime, and sleeping time will help you manage your responsibilities as a parent, too.
"On our most recent vacation, we just went with the flow around naps and meal times. We’ll never do that again. It took us a week to get everyone back on track after we got home."
What is a mealtime routine?What is a playtime routine?
A mealtime routine for toddlers should include 3 meals and 2 snacks given around the same time each day.
To stay healthy and sleep better, toddlers should be active throughout the day: morning, afternoon, and early evening.
What is a bedtime routine?
A simple, soothing routine will help your toddler relax and get ready for bedtime. A warm bath, reading a book, or softly singing songs are great ways get ready for sleep.
Quick tips: Creating family routines
- Eat meals together as a family at the same time every day. If that doesn’t seem doable with your schedule, set a goal of eating together at least 3 times a week.
- Get your toddler to help you make healthy meals — even young children can stir foods with a little help!
- Make physical activity a part of your family’s everyday routine. Go for a walk after dinner and play in the park on weekends.
- Eat breakfast every day.
- Give your toddler a bath after dinner every evening. Let bath time be a transition into getting ready for bed.
Parent 2 Parent
"My husband works nights and I realized we hadn’t sat down to a family meal together since our baby was born — she was almost 2 at that point! We challenged ourselves to having breakfast as a family every day for a week. Then we tried it for a month. Now we do it all the time — it just starts the day right."
Did You Know?
Research shows that families who eat meals together have children who are more likely to eat fruits and vegetables and less likely to eat fried foods and drink soda pop.