The San Diego Childhood Obesity Initiative organized two virtual Toddler Behavior Workshops on October 27, 2023, targeting healthcare workers in the first session and early childhood providers and guardians in the second. Dr. Jane Heinig, PhD, IBCLC, Executive Director of the Human Lactation Center at UC Davis, facilitated the workshops. The workshops, both titled Six Big Changes for Toddlers, focus on a developmental approach to promote dietary diversity in young children. For the audience of early childhood providers and guardians, Dr. Heinig discussed the difficulties that are often encountered in ensuring consistency in eating habits between home and childcare settings. For the healthcare audience, Dr. Henig focused on effective communication methods providers can use when addressing food, nutrition, and dietary issues with parents and guardians. Dr. Heinig shared her experience and knowledge about unhealthy eating patterns that could arise if toddler behaviors and cues are not addressed. She stressed the importance of repeated exposures to foods to increase familiarization, creating positive memorable experiences around feeding time, and being attentive to different behavioral cues that they may exhibit, such as moving around a lot as a way of practicing the new motor skills they are developing as toddlers.
As part of COI’s ongoing commitment to promoting well-being in the community, we worked closely with our Healthcare and Early Childhood workgroup members to determine the best dates and times for these workshops, which were also sponsored by our community partner Molina Health. Attendees had the opportunity to ask questions and discuss various scenarios they encountered either at work or at home with toddlers. By the end of the workshop, participants gained tools and strategies that can be used in their healthcare or childhood care setting, or at home with toddlers.
For anyone interested in future workshops or learning more about establishing healthy eating habits in young children, please visit our website at sdcoi.org or follow us on social media (@sdcoi).