Tip 12: Let your child choose

At some point, many toddlers will only say “no” to food. This phase usually occurs when children are (almost) two and think they’re old enough to decide everything by themselves. It can help to let your child choose what they want to eat every now and then.

Let them choose between two healthy options, for example:

  • Do you want to eat cauliflower or broccoli tonight?
  • Do you want an apple or a pear as a snack?
  • What would you like on your sandwich, chicken or cheese?
  • Would you like to drink water or tea?

Your child will have the impression they can actually choose and you are listening to them. They will feel big. “Hooray, I can choose all by myself!”


You can also let your child choose items while grocery shopping, for example fruit and vegetables.

Bob, father of Marloes (3 years old)

Every night it was the same old story. Marloes refused to eat her vegetables. She hated everything I prepared. A friend suggested I let her choose what we would eat. I myself don’t care whether we eat broccoli or cauliflower. And maybe Marloes would eat if she could choose her own vegetables. Surprise, surprise, it worked! Not every time, mind you, sometimes she’s still difficult, but things are much better now.