Helping Your Child Grow -

Helping Your Child Grow

Children Card 9


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

Each child grows at her own rate.

Some grow and gain weight more slowly than others. Why are some children small?

  • Some children are small because their parents are small. As long as the child is growing at a steady rate and has energy, that’s OK.
  • Some children are small because they aren’t eating enough. Or they may be eating the wrong type of food.
  • Some children are small because their parents limit how much they eat and worry that they will become fat if they eat too much.
  • Other children are small because they are sick. If your child is not growing well, or is not gaining weight, talk to a doctor or dietitian.

If your child is small because she isn’t eating well, here are some ideas that could help:

  • Offer 3 meals and 2-3 snacks a day at regular times. When they don’t have regular meal times, children may eat little bits all day long. This keeps them from being hungry, but they don’t get enough to grow well.
  • Serve child-size portions and let your child decide how much to eat. Don’t make a big deal if she doesn’t want to eat. She can eat at the next meal or snack.
  • Limit candy, chips, cake, cookies and pop. These foods don’t give your child the nutrition needed to grow well. They can ruin your child’s appetite for mealtime foods.
  • Avoid snacks right before meals. Snacks should be eaten about 2 hours before the next meal.
  • Don’t allow your child to fill up on milk, juice, pop, Kool-Aid or sports drinks. Limit drinks about 1 hour before mealtimes.
  • Make mealtime pleasant. Eating is more enjoyable in a happy, relaxed setting. Eat meals with your child whenever possible. Enjoy mealtime yourself. Relax! Don’t try to make your child eat.

Try these foods to help your child grow:

  • Cheese on toast, crackers, bagels or apple slices
  • Bean and cheese burritos
  • Pudding made with whole milk
  • Milkshakes
  • Cereal and milk
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Peanut butter on crackers, celery, apple slices, or bananas

WHAT to offer:

  • Dairy: For children over 2, offer skim or 1% milk. Choose cheese and other dairy foods made from skim or low fat milk.
  • Protein: Offer lean meats. Broil, bake, boil or steam instead of frying.
  • Grains: Offer breads, cereal, pasta and rice.
  • Fruits and vegetables: Offer five servings a day.
  • Offer sweets such as candy, cakes and cookies only once in awhile.
  • Have healthy snack foods on hand like fruits, vegetables, graham crackers and low fat yogurt.
  • Don’t have lots of high calorie snacks like chips, sweets, ice cream, granola bars and pop.
  • Give your child water between meals to quench thirst. Avoid sweetened beverages like pop and Kool-Aid. Limit juice to 4 - 6 ounces a day.

WHEN your child eats:

  • Have meals and snacks at regular times each day. Plan 3 meals and 2-3 snacks each day.
  • Offer child-size servings and let your child ask for seconds. Let your child decide how much he wants to eat. Trust that he will stop when he is full.

WHERE is the best place for your child to eat?

  • Have your child sit at the table and eat with the family. Mealtime is a time for family sharing.
  • Don’t eat in front of the TV. This can make children eat more than they normally do.

Being active is fun?

Play indoor and outdoor games that allow your child to move safely, such as:
• Roll a ball
• Run and walk
• Play hopscotch
• Jump rope
• Dance
• Walk the dog
• Ride a tricycle or bicycle
• Blow bubbles and chase them

Limit TV, computer and videogame time to 1 hour each day.


Give your child lots of love and affection. Help build your child’s self-esteem. Don’t nag, criticize or punish your child for being overweight.

Don’t tell your child he can’t eat certain foods. This will only make him want those foods even more.

Reward your child with a smile, hug or pat on the back rather than with food.