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Do you know what happens when you let your toddler feed himself? He builds self esteem! Self-esteem increases as a child develops confidence. The repetition of daily meals increases fine motor skills and the ability to do things for himself. What happens when you allow your toddler to feed himself? You help his brain grow!

Getting youngsters to develop a healthy relationship with food in the early years is important, says Parents as Teachers National Center. Toddlers use food to test, experiment and wage a campaign for control, says this national parent education organization. And while there are no rules for getting them to eat, understanding the division of responsibility between parent and child can help. Parents are responsible for what their child is offered to eat and for where and when it is presented, say early childhood experts. The child is responsible for what and how much he eats. Here’s a parenting tip: let your child’s appetite guide you. Serve less than you think your child will eat, but assure her she can always have more. You may have to serve a new food 10 times or more before your child will try it.

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