new_0_year_baby.png Help Me Be Healthy: I am 2 1/2

Please let me decide when I have had enough to eat


  • I feed myself and use a spoon. I hold my cup with one hand. I feel proud.
  • I want to learn about food. Please serve me foods I like along with a new food. You may need to offer me a new food 10 times before I will try it. This is normal.
  • Don’t worry if I don’t eat a meal or snack. I will eat more on some days than others. Please don’t beg me to eat or fix other foods for me.
  • Please don’t force me to eat or make me “clean my plate.”
  • I need some fat. You can put margarine, cheese, or a little peanut butter on my foods. Or let me dip my vegetables in salad dressing. A little sugar is okay, but not very much.


    Let’s stay on schedule
  • If a meal or nap is late, I get too hungry or tired. I might throw a tantrum. I don’t know how to wait.

  • Offer me 3 meals and 2 or 3 healthy snacks every day. Try to have them at the same times.
  • When we are away from home, please take a snack for me. We can sit and eat WIC cereal or some crackers.
  • Find a quiet place for my nap. Read my favorite book until I fall asleep.


  • Make our family meals relaxed


    • I want to copy what you do and be just like you. If you make healthy choices and try new foods, I will do it too.
    • I like to be with you. Please make time to eat with me. Can we turn off all our TVs and cell phones while we eat? I like it when you talk to me during meals.
    • I still need to sit while I eat and drink so I don’t choke. Put me in my highchair or booster seat at the table with our family. I can eat most foods you do—I want to be just like you!
    • Sometimes I like eating with my fingers. I like using my spoon and fork, too. I may still be messy when I eat. This is how I learn to feed myself.
    • Let’s both wash our hands before and after we eat.


    Keep me safe and healthy


  • At my checkup with the doctor, ask if I need a lead test.
  • Keep me away from tobacco smoke, matches, and lighters.
  • Watch me in the tub or near water.
  • Keep cords up so I can’t pull on them.
  • Lock up cleaners, sprays, and medicines.
  • Buckle me into a child safety seat before I ride in the car.
  • Keep my screen time to an hour a day.


  • Let’s play


  • I learn a lot when I play.
  • I learn even more when you play with me.
  • When we play, it helps me grow smarter, stronger, healthier, and happier.


  • ​​​* For details, please download Help Me Be Healthy : I am 2 1/2​​​