Appetite Slumps in Toddlers

toddler appetite

We know that picky eating can be an issue for toddlers, but sometimes your child seems to like a variety of foods, but they still won’t eat. Sometimes children aren’t being picky eaters; they just never seem to have an appetite.


Appetite generally slows for children between 1-5 years old. Their rate of growth slows down significantly in this time, and as a result, so does their appetite. Children are surprisingly in tune with their nutritional needs; they eat as much as they need for growth and energy, so a slow down in their appetite might be because they don’t need as much food as they did before. Children usually grow out of this appetite slump within 2 to 4 weeks and it’s often not a cause for concern.

How to Dump the Appetite Slump

The first step is to put children in control of their own appetite. Forcing your child to clear their plate can have a negative impact on their nutritional habits in the future. Children should not associate negative feelings towards food. They should also learn to control their appetite so as not to overeat in the future.

Family style dining is great for placing children in control of their appetite because they are in charge of how much goes on their plate. Family style dining also helps keep mealtime enjoyable by encouraging conversation and bonding, which ultimately helps children make positive associations with eating.

Always have healthy snacks available throughout the day, so if your child doesn’t eat much during mealtime, they have an opportunity within a couple of hours to eat again. When your child is at Childventures, you never have to worry – we provide snacks and plenty of water to drink throughout the day.

Limiting juices and pops also helps keep a child’s appetite up during the day. Drinks that are heavy in calories often fill up a child and prevent them from consuming more nutritious alternatives at mealtime. Water is often the best drink choice.

The most important thing to remember is never to make mealtimes a struggle, make them enjoyable for you and your child instead.

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