S.M. asks from McKinney, TX on May 27, 2008
Help! Meal Time Is Killing Me.
Hi Ladies- Just wanted to see what everyone thinks about my struggle. My 15 month old daughter drives me crazy when it comes to meal times esp. dinner. She takes like 3 bites and then says she is done. I know that toddlers have a tendency to eat sporadically etc. etc. but what really makes me crazy is that she will eat quite it bit more if we just let her get out of high chair and grab and go from her plate as she pleases. That drives me crazy because I just want to do meal time and move on. Plus, I worry that I am setting myself up for problems later on down the road if I allow that behavior now. Am I being too rigid? Am I obsessing too much about her food intake? Should I just let it be and allow her to eat on her own terms? Help? This really is driving me nuts. Thanks- S.
C.P. answers from Dallas on May 28, 2008
I have a 15 month old daughter as well and we have the same problem. I finally got to the point now to where I put her in her high chair and offer her just about anything I know that she will eat and if she won't eat it then I put her down, but if she wants to eat later I put her in her high chair and they will learn to sit in their high chair to eat.
S.W. answers from Amarillo on May 28, 2008
let her know when it is mealtime that she won't be able to eat later, it's now or never. I did it with my daughter when she was younger, and it works just fine. i had to be stern with her, and she did go without food for a while until she knew that i meant what i said. Eat now or don't eat until the next mealtime. you can do it!
R.B. answers from Abilene on May 28, 2008
Hi S., Your problem is very common to many parents. You are the parent and should train the child to do what you know best is for her. When she begins nursery school, kindergarten, or primary school she will have rules to follow and the sooner she learns to follow rules, whether it be in the home from parents, grandparents, or baby sitter , she will be a much calmer child and will have learned to respect the "authority " figure. As a parent, you set the rules, children must follow, otherwise it is the child setting the rules and parents follow which causes much frustration and later on much humiliation,
I had four kids, each are a little different in nature, some more stubborn than others. For my husband and I, it was important that they be a part of the family as soon as they could sit in their high chair. When we sat down for a meal, they sat with us until we all had finished. If they didn't want to eat then, they still sat there with the family so they could feel apart of the group and in the conversation, At first it is parents talking to the child, but it isn't long until they like to "talk", also. Once they got down from the table, they got no more food until the next meal. They soon catch on, if, you do not give in to them. I think the most important thing to remember is: You are the parent, you are not going to teach them bad habits. Every parent wants a good, well mannered child, but the child has to be taught. Hope this might help. R.
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E.S. answers from Dallas on May 28, 2008
I think you're doing the right thing. My daughter (19 months old today) often wants to eat on the floor in or some other chair than her booster. She may sit exactly where she wants to eat while I prepare the meal (this is usually breakfast), but I just set her meal on the table in front of her booster seat on the table and let her know that's where she eats. She typically gives in and makes her own decision to eat in her "blue big girl chair". The advice I've read (though we haven't gotten there yet and still may) is that if she decides not to, "that's fine" and later if she asks for a snack, I should say "oh that's too bad. I'm sorry you're hungry because you decided not to eat [at breakfast]. I know you'll be hungry when it's lunch time." This is a 'Love and Logic Early Childhood' method and I can't recommend that book highly enough. Good luck!
J.A. answers from Amarillo on May 29, 2008
My children were the same way, I think most toddlers are..but I stuck to my guns and insisted that food was only eaten at the table. Sometimes they may have gotten down hungry but by the next meal they were ready to sit down and eat good. Also, keep snacks at a minimum, maybe 3 meals and 2 snacks a day otherwise she will be in the high chair so much that she won't be hungry and also she won't eat much at mealtime knowing that she can get right back in the highchair for a snack soon. With my kids, we all sat down to eat together...sometimes I sat long after I was finished eating just because if I got up they would want up, then when we were done I cleaned everything up and the kitchen was "closed" until the next meal or snack time. This eleminated the grazing for all of us. My kids are now 9 and 14, we still don't eat anywhere but the kitchen table and I cherish our meal time conversation GREATLY, sometimes it's our only real conversation time between sports, school, and church.
C.G. answers from Jacksonville on May 29, 2008
My 7 yr old tries to snack and not eat and has now started to complain about stomach aches everyday now. He wants medication until I offer something he wants to eat and suddenly he's ok. I keep telling him that it's not a stomach ache, and that he is starving and needs to eat a meal. He tries to get away with eating half and now he only get snacks if he eats all his food. Little ones want to snack and when they don't get a chance to they start to eat right. Which is just my opinion. I hope you figure out what's best for you, and good luck.
M.C. answers from Dallas on May 27, 2008
I hear you! My DD is 13 mos, and doesn't like to sit still (diaper changes are a challenge, too!). She wants to get out of her high chair, but then will walk back over and forage for the bits left in her chair seat! I don't know as I have an answer, but I do try to be clear about eating is for in the high chair, and we don't just graze all day. This is mostly for my sanity--I don't want her dragging food around the house, etc. For now, we let her down when she wants down, then if she's hungry again (even 20 minutes later), we put her back in the high chair. It wears the patience, certainly, but we're hoping to teach her that eating happens in her chair, in the kitchen, that she's welcome to eat 'til she's done, but then she's done. Good luck!
L.S. answers from Dallas on May 27, 2008
you are setting yourself up to break some bad habits if you do the grab and go thing. she will not understand when you are in a restaurant and she will want to grab and go. i think you should let her up. when she is really, really hungry she will eat. i agree with the lady who wrote about covering the plate in fridge and reheating. you can also cut down on snacks and liquids like milk that will fill her up right before eating that will make her feel full, then a little while later she is hungry again. try water and some real fruit. the fruit will be good for her and the water won't stay long. then after that, i would give her some time and then discipline for disobedience. i would not play games to get her to eat. i never play games to get my kids to do anything. period. you are setting up them to have the power in your relationship. as the parent the power over most things should be with you and what your expectations are. the only thing they need to learn to decide is if they will obey or not. and good discipline will ensure they make good choices. start early.
A.D. answers from Dallas on May 28, 2008
Hannah goes in spurts too. Here's what we do: she sits with us when we eat - what she eats, she eats. Later, if she's hungry again, I'll put her back in her chair to eat. That way I hope I'm being flexible to her schedule a little, but also, now allowing her to just run wild around the house.
I've also noticed that the more we pay attention and comment about her eating, the less she eats. So...we try to "ignore" her and often, when we're finished eating and are cleaning up the kitchen, she begins to eat again.
Additionally, you might consider doing away with the highchair if she is still sitting in one. I hadn't even thought of such since Hannah was still seeming to do fine in hers. But I ran across some moms talking about highchairs and ages to switch to a booster/etc.... So I thought, you know, I'll give it a shot. I think it has done really well. Hannah seem to eat better and has only fallen out of the chair once! (hope that is a good thing! :) ) We didn't do a booster, as I have chairs that kind-of wrap around. We just adjusted the seat to be a little higher and bingo! We were set.
HOpe that helps!
E.W. answers from Dallas on May 27, 2008
My daughter does the same thing sometimes, she is bit older though (26 months) which makes it worse.
My husband and I will sometimes make a gaem out of eating just so that she will eat. We will do the airplane game where we crash in her mouth, but we ask her what animal she wants. We then make that animals noise and crash into her mouth. Something else you can do is allow her to play with her food, toddlers seem to do so much better eating when they can play at the same time. Have her put the green beans in another cup and pretend they are swimming then she can rescue them. Whatever game you can think of . Eventually she will get older and tired of playing these childish games, it will be much easier habit of breaking then getting up from the table.