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How to Feed a Sick Toddler

Winter, are you for real? Must you spread every sickness to every toddler in the land?

Apparently, it is not enough to wash our hands every 32 minutes out of an abundance of caution. Or vigorously wipe down grocery cart handles. Or tell our little ones to STOP EATING that thing in the library, checkout counter, driveway, etc. The germs will find a way.

They’ve been in my house since early October, swirling and spinning without an end in sight. Our sickness carousel causes dizziness and nausea just like the carnival ride. And that screaming in the background? It’s my toddler trying to avoid eating and drinking anything at all costs while she’s feeling under the weather. So I’ve compiled some tips to get that little one hydrated and slightly nourished.

Look familiar?

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Unsplash

How to Feed a Sick Toddler

Pro Tip 1: Eat a breakfast bar in front of her.

She will–without a doubt–want some of that breakfast bar simply because you are eating it. Give her a piece and then watch her smash it into the carpet. She might eat some of it later, so leave it there for a few days.

Pro Tip 2: Tempt her with a sippy cup of juice.

The forbidden juice should be an attention grabber. Put it somewhere high like you don’t want her to reach it. Sing its praises. Then, unexpectedly, take it down and offer it to her. Once again, she will take it, fill her mouth with the liquid, and just when you are about to claim victory, she will more than likely let it all run down her chin onto her clean pajamas. She must have swallowed a few drops. Job well done.

Pro Tip 3: Buy expensive yogurt smoothies.

My kid will actually drink these little smoothies in any circumstance. Pop a straw through the foil top and claim success. As a bonus, she can play with the straw when she finishes. As I always say, three grams of protein is better than no protein at all.

Pro Tip 4: Order pizza.

This tip is more for you than for the sick children. After a day of begging what is usually a small garbage disposal to eat something, anything, the last place you want to be is the kitchen. Do yourself a favor and throw in the towel. Your toddler might even see the pizza box and ask for a slice. Win-win.

Do your sick family a favor

Photo by Kristina Bratko on Unsplash

Pro Tip 5: Give up.

Yes, give up. A toddler will eat when he/she is hungry. I suggest putting out an assortment of crackers and maybe a piece of cheese as if you are trying to lure mice. Leave out a sippy cup of water for good measure. In four or five days, your 30 pound kiddo will be pounding three square meals and a few giant snacks to make up for lost time.

I think the groundhog signaled that spring is on its way, so keep your chin up and your disinfectant ready. We’re almost there. 


Disclaimer: As you might suspect, I am not a medical professional. Please call your doctor with any dehydration or nutritional concerns.

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