3- and 4-year-olds typically are in periods of relatively slow growth

September 2016: Eating and Drinking
Welcome to Milestones, the Early Childhood Development Newsletter! Each month, we will bring you quick
tips to help your child gain independence, confidence, and skills in one area of development. We hope you
find this newsletter helpful!!
Look for information about our parent information nights, coming soon! These meetings will give you an
opportunity to meet with staff from the Early Learning Center to address any questions you may have about
your child’s development. Childcare will be available upon request. More details are coming soon!
Sit for a meal, without toys or
television to distract them
Chew their foods thoroughly
Feed themselves using fingers
and a spoon
Have favorite foods that
change daily!
Drink from a straw and are
working on using a regular
cup without spilling
Can be very demanding of
parent's attention and may
also dawdle during meals
Begin to learn table manners
with adult help
Pour a drink into a cup
Use fork and spoon with little
Insist on feeding themselves
Drink from an open cup
May imitate siblings or friends
in likes and dislikes
Continue to learn and use
table manners
Still drinks from a baby bottle
Eats less than 20 foods
Refuses to touch foods
Gags or vomits when food is presented
Set and clear the table with
some help
Can use the good table
manners they have learned
Have a much better appetite
than they did at ages 3 and
Enjoy helping to choose and
prepare meals with supervision
Will only eat or drink with specific utensils
Cannot sit still for mealtimes
Does not thoroughly chew her food
Has trouble swallowing
3- and 4-year-olds typically are in periods of relatively slow growth. Average weight gain
per year is only three to four pounds. Their appetites might not be what most parents think
they should be. Feeding problems can develop if parents make their child eat more than he
or she needs to, or show too much concern in what their child eats.
Eat meals with your child whenever
possible. Let your child see you
enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole
grains at meals and snacks. Your child
should eat and drink only a limited
amount of food and beverages that
contain added sugars, solid fats, or salt
NEVER force her to eat foods.
Provide nutritious foods and let your
child decide what and how much to
eat. Offer small portions with the
availability of a second helping.
Meal times should be pleasant,
enjoyable experiences. Encourage
and teach good table manners, and
allow time to have conversations during
It’s normal behavior for children’s
favorite foods to change, and it’s best
not to make an issue of it. Encourage
her to try new foods by offering her
small bites to taste.
Allow your child to participate in
setting and cleaning up the table.
Always praise him or her for a job well
Teachers and therapists ask about if your child is still using
the bottle because they want him to be healthy, happy, and
a good communicator! The American Academy of
Pediatrics recommends children stop drinking from a bottle
at age 12 months (1 year). Studies have shown that the
muscles we need to use for speech tend to be weaker in
children who drink from a bottle past age 18 months.
Bottle use at night can lead to increased tooth decay
(which is painful!) and may lead to an overbite. Lastly, if a
child is filling up on milk from a bottle, he is less likely to eat
during meals. This is an important social and cultural part
of his life that he may miss!
If you need help with getting your child to give up his bottle,
please feel free to talk with your child’s teacher!
Milestones is general information on child development.
It is compiled and written by District 54 Early Learning Center Staff.
September 2016 Issue contributors:
Amanda Waidanz, MS, OTR/L
Christine Rojas, MS, OT/L