I can't get through a meal

Courtney - posted on 01/31/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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We sit down for dinner together every night but every night our 18 month old throws a fit before we get to finish our dinners. Either my husband o I have to wolf down our food to get him out of his high chair. Any ideas on how we can actually finish our meals and a good pace and have him eat in peace?

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Kelli - posted on 02/01/2010

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exactly Caitriona! I just had a conversation with my pediatrician about this the other day, as mealtimes have been a disaster lately. Calmly remove him, don't pay attention. She also said that a habit takes about 3 days to break in a toddler. Giving in is just giving them the upper hand, and they are much smarter than we think! good luck! and by the way, dinner is much better for us now.

Caitriona - posted on 02/01/2010

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As far as I know, anything can put a toddler off their food so the best thing is to have a strict time schedule. For instance, breakfast at 8.30am then lunch at 12pm with nothing inbetween. Then a small snack and drink at 3pm then dinner at 5.30pm. I have often given my son a snack at 4pm or 4.30pm and have completely put him off his dinner, my fault and I don't want to fight with him, so I just let him eat the small amount he wants and leave it at that. I find if I let my son feed himself and ignore the mess he eats a lot better. If I try to spoon feed him he refuses. As soon as he starts throwing dinner on the floor, I say ok, dinners finished, no yoghurt. After this happened a couple of times he stopped throwing food on the floor. A week ago he threw a tantrum at dinner time so I removed him from his high chair without giving any reaction to his tantrum and explained he would not have any dinner if he did not calm down. He did calm down and 10mins later I tried him with dinner again, but he just threw the food on the floor, so I said, that's it, no dinner, no yoghurt, we forgot the whole thing and played as normal after, and he went to bed later without having dinner, but since then we have had no dinner dramas, so I guess he learned a lesson. I wasn't being too harsh as I never raised my voice to him, and I knew it wouldn't be harmful to him missing dinner this one time, if it meant that we could avoid this problem in the future.

What I would suggest is that you let your son feed himself as you and your husband are eating, obviously helping him if he needs it. When he starts screaming, remove him from his chair and put him on the floor, and carry on eating your dinner, ignore his screams, and calmly explain you are eating your dinner and if he would like to join you he can go back in his chair to finish his dinner. He'l more than likely want to be with you if you stay sitting at the table, so he can either be in the chair or be on the floor, but you are going to finsh your dinner regardless. Currently he has all the power, and he knows as soon as he wants it he can make you panic and rush your dinner etc. You need to let him know that he cant control you with screaming. Try this for every meal for two days and see if there is an improvement. If you start this one time, and then give into him the next time, you'll only confuse him.

I hope this helps, let me know what you think anyway.

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