Every parent wants their child to develop good eating
habits. The kind that involve using a spoon or fork, saying
please and thank you, and eating while sitting down.
“Teaching starts from the very beginning,” says
parenting coach Rosemary Greisman. “You want to
establish early on the kind of eating habits you want
your child to continue throughout their lives.”
Rosemary recommends what you can start teaching and
when, starting with the first day your baby eats solids.
Four to six months
Now is the time to start introducing
your baby to solids.
It’s important to expose them
to lots of different foods
when they are little so they
have an expansive palate.
- Let them experience different
tastes. Even if they don’t like
it, don’t give up. Try again
the next week.
- Balance vegetables, protein
and starches by making your
own or buying.
- Put them in a high chair or
secured booster seat.
- Give your baby a spoon.
They can’t use it yet but expose
them to utensils early.
Six months to one year
Sit them at the table in a high
chair when eating.
- Share your food with your
baby and introduce them to it
in bite-sized pieces.
- Turn off distractions like the
TV and have conversations
around the table.
- Introduce a sippy cup.
One to three years
Teach your toddler to sit in a
chair at the table; bring them
back if they leave.
- Keep introducing them to new
tastes and textures.
- Offer them a snack between
each meal, such as fruit. Skipping
sugar is the key. You can
set up a low shelf of foods so
they can help themselves. This
will help to develop their independence
and confidence but
in a controlled way.
- Introduce a regular cup. It may
be messy, but it’s important
that they have the opportunity
- Use kid-friendly cutlery and
plates to make eating fun. This is important when kids are
- Teach them that throwing and
spitting food is not acceptable.
- Ensure that they eat even a
small breakfast even if they
say they aren’t hungry. Protein
is especially important in the
- Offer milk, water or diluted
juice to drink.
- Don’t have foods or drinks in
the house that you don’t want
them to have, such as pop. Try
to avoid packaged food but
when you do buy packaged,
read the labels to ensure there
are no harmful sweeteners, oils
or other hidden ingredients.
Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, November 2012.