Feeding Your 3-Year Old -

Feeding Your 3-Year Old

Children Card 4


MN WIC Program

  1. Feeding Your One Year Old
  2. Feeding Your 1 ½-Year Old
  3. Feeding Your 2-Year Old
  4. Feeding Your 3-Year Old
  5. Feeding Your 4--Year Old
  6. Beverages
  7. How Do I Get My Child to Eat?
  8. MyPlate for Children
  9. Healthy Weight
  10. Helping Your Child Grow
  11. Get Moving - Activity for 1 to 2-Year Olds
  12. Keep Moving - Activity for 3 to 5-Year-Olds

Three-year-olds are busy.

They have their own ideas about food and eating. They need you to set limits on what they can and cannot do. At the same time, you need to be flexible. It’s not an easy job!


Three-year-olds grow slowly.

He may not need as much food as you think he should. He may be a picky eater or refuse to eat. This is very normal at this age.

Be a positive role model – eat a variety of foods yourself. Make tasting new food fun by involving your child in the shopping, preparing and serving of the new food. Talk about the color, shape, size and taste of the food. Remember, some children need to try a new food several times before they like it.


Your job and your child’s job

  • Your job is to buy healthy foods and to offer a variety of foods at regular meals and snacks. Limit foods like chips, cake, cookies, candy and pop.
  • Your child’s job is to decide what to eat and how much to eat.

Feeding Your 3-Year-Old Helpful hints:

  • Food jags are when a child wants the same food over and over again. Don’t worry. This stage will pass. Offer small portions of the favorite food along with other foods. After a few days, he will probably try other foods.
  • If your child just wants to drink and not eat, give milk after the meal or as a snack.
  • Your child’s appetite will change from day to day and this may worry you. Just make sure you are giving the right foods for him to choose from. Don’t force him to eat.
  • Your child is getting better at using utensils. Give him a child-size spoon or fork. Praise your child for his good efforts as he continues to learn and polish these new skills.
  • Encourage your child to be active every day. A love for physical activity is one of the most important gifts parents can give their children. Here are some ideas for activities that 3- year-olds can easily do:

• Increase your child’s ability to jump and land safely by grasping his hand while jumping from low steps, curbs or boxes. Practice landing on both feet and bending the knees.

• Playfully chase him throughout the home or playground and hug him when you catch him.

• Design a trail of objects like wooden planks, a twisted rope and a taped pathway that sparks your child’s movement and improves balance skills.