The Division of Responsibility: How to Raise a Child Who's a Joy to Feed

by Natalee Gent, Registered Dietitian specializing in infant/toddler feeding.

As we all know a child’s appetite and intake can change so fast! Sometimes even when we serve their favorite food, they may not eat it. It can be frustrating and concerning to us parents as we just want what is best for them. Instead of adding pressure to the table and asking them to take one more bite or clean their plate, let the child decide how much he/she eats.

Sometimes going back to the basics is the best way to help navigate picky eating or even to help raise intuitive and adventurous eaters.

The division of responsibility categorizes the feeding responsibilities for both parents/caregivers and the child. Following this theory, eliminates any confusion on the roles we both have during snacks/meals. As a parent/caregiver we are in charge of WHAT, WHEN and WHERE feeding takes place. The child is in charge of HOW MUCH and WHETHER to eat or not.


In simple terms, the parent provides and the child decides. I know sometimes we can get caught up in our child’s nutrition and want to be in charge of how much & what they eat but that is not our role. Instead of looking at our child’s nutrition intake at each meal, look at the bigger picture and look at it from a week at a time. This will give us a better idea of the variety and overall nutrition they are consuming.

I know it may seem scary at first but trust me, once following these principles meal time will be stress free and so much more enjoyable. I don’t worry about my child’s intake anymore. They know their body best and consume the nutrients they need. As pictured above, some meals they clean their plate and others they barely touch anything. This is normal toddler/child behavior. Continue to offer a wide variety of foods and let your child be responsible for how much they eat.

Need more guidance?

As a registered dietitian nutrition coach, I will work with you to create an
individualized plan that is suitable for your family. I’ll provide tips, tricks and
education on the best way to help navigate and overcome picky eating. Let’s make meals more enjoyable for the entire family!

Meet the Expert

Hi, I'm Natalee.

A mom of two and Registered Dietitian specializing in baby-led weaning and picky eating. I started The Realistic RD to help empower parents feeding their littles with realistic nutrition advice. In my free time, you can find me outside playing with my kids, trying a new recipe (I love to bake) or enjoying a nice long walk. I'm a mom so I get it. I do my best to get a balanced meal on the table. But let's be honest, some nights it may be frozen pizza and that’s okay too. You can learn more about my services on my website & follow along on Instagram or Facebook.

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