Eating And Drinking Between The Ages Of 2 And 3

Eating and drinking between the ages of 2 and 3 can be tricky.  Your child is looking for ways to exert their independence and food can often be a way to do that.  Some ideas that might help minimize this power struggle might be helpful.

Allow your child to help you make the grocery list or go grocery shopping with you.  Have your child choose what is for dinner by giving them 2 choices.  “Should we have corn or green beans tonight?”  When cooking and serving, verbally remind your child that you are proud of them for shopping for, choosing and now eating the vegetable they picked for dinner.  You are reminding your child that they already had the control and planned the dinner.  Hopefully, this will give you success at the dinner table.

Be flexible with messes at the table while you are teaching independence.  Food is easily wiped up.  Allow your child to serve themselves and model appropriate portions for each serving.  Use a small pitcher for your child to pour their own drink while they are learning this skill.  The confidence your child will develop around food will be pay off for your patience with the messes while learning.

Between the ages of 2 and 3 years of age, your child will: 

·        Eat the same foods as the rest of the family

·       Feed himself well with a spoon and fork

·       Have definite food likes and dislikes

·       Refuse certain foods

·       Possibly start to become a “picky eater”

·       Wipe his own mouth and hands with a napkin or cloth

·       Start to serve herself at the table with some spills

·       Pour liquids into his cup from a small container

If your child is struggling learning the above skills, practice for a couple months.  If behaviors are starting to develop, reach out to your pediatrician for guidance.  At ABC, we want to be able to help before the behaviors cause too much upset.  Learn more at

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Developmental Checklist

Is your child meeting their developmental milestones?