My daughter will not sit at the table to eat

Emilie - posted on 10/11/2009 ( 11 moms have responded )

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She is almost 3. I stopped putting her in a highchair because she would cry so much. Now she is sitting in a regular chair. But she won't stay in it. She will eat a couple bites of food then she is done. When I took her for her 2 year check up she was 26 pounds. She is almost 3 now, and she is 27 pounds. I give her Pediasure, and I try to beg "just a couple more bites" I don't know what else to do.

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Cindy - posted on 10/11/2009

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Well I must start off by saying what you probably already feel or know. STOP focusing so much on the problem and gear towards the solution. My son who will be 3 in 1 month, does the VERY same thing. I am at my wits end, I worry about him, I panic thinking he is not eating enough, and I am tired of fighting with him to eat. have I covered most of how you are feeling? Now, I will tell you...yes put him in a booster seat, and yes do not give him any snacks(juice's and milk included) 20 minutes before eating. But this is not a "I dont want to eat Mommy" case, it is a "I have control over Mommy and what I can do" case. It really is. His "cognative" thinking is that he will execute by any means necessary control over situations pertaining to him. i do not believe in forcing a child either, but clearly as his Mother you must re-gain your authority on this matter, so yes having a booster for the time being will send him the signal that he no longer can freely walk away from his meals of which he needs. Also, any type of attention he recieves whether it be good or bad, is feeding the desire to maintain control over the situation at hand. Pedisure is a good choice if the child has a feeding disorder, however from what I read it is more of a case of "I dont want to" or "I will eat what and when I want". I say this because there are many calories in Pedisure, and may repress the hunger sensation. I also agree that "snacks' are not an option if the meal has been comprimised or refused. She will not starve, she will not function less, at her age her body will send the signals to her, the human anatomy is funny like that sometimes. You need to gather some strength in order to follow through, keep reminding yourself that what you are trying to teach her and install in her now are for her own good and to guide her to her next steps. If she senses guilt, or that you are not at ease, she will mimic you. Every child also goes through a stage where they eat less then what they had before. Monitor the situation, keep a daily journal for 2wks and record what she eats, then make a appointment with your Doctor, but do so under the new changes you will be willingly to make. This way you will have accounted for what her intake was, and it gives an idea for the medical side as well if this is what concerns you. Good luck, stay firm, keep that journal, and I wish you the very best! Oh....if she sits at the table longer than 10 minutes..praise her!!! Not overly, but enough to let her know that you have noticed she is now following through on Mommy's terms, and not her own(after all she is still a toddler) Hope this has helped!!!

Kiaza - posted on 10/11/2009

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I think you need to get on top of this one and fast, buy the booster to use with the regular chair and stick to the rules. My neice is six and still wont sit at the table or eat a full meal. Now that i am expecting number one i have told my DP the rules are not to be broken.



Make sure you eat together and talk about what foods are nice to eat and distract her from the fact that she is at the table. Make a set time of 10 or 15 minutes that she is to sit and eat, after that time she can leave the table but her plate will be taken away straight away. If she asks for more of one thing, give it to her just make sure you cook a balanced meal and that she gets a little bit of everything.



Also make it fun, maybe you teo could come up with better names for the food and turn diner time into family story time..... carots= kangaroo peas = Monster snot.....kids love this sort of thing it keeps their mind active and cuts out the time to think about what they dont want to do.



Good luck hope this helps.

Ann Marie - posted on 10/11/2009

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When she gets down, remove her plate from the table. No snacks until the next appointed feeding time. When the plate is offered at the next meal, she will eat more. Do not demand she finish. She just has to eat something.

And do not give her what she wants. You will set a pattern of eating which will never be broken. You need to be widening her palate rather than letting her determine what she will and will not eat.

Have her help you set the table. This will give her an interest in the plate, fork, etc. Sandi is right. Her plate and fork should be toddler sized. Let her help you serve the food. If she scoops the peas onto the plate, she will be more likely to eat them. All of these tasks are completely in line with her age and development.

Unless there is a reason for her to be on pediasure, stop using it as a crutch. You are likely ruining her appetite by giving it to her to drink prior to the meal. It is fine with the meal, but if you are worried about weight, use formula powder in milk and yogurt. It is FAR better balanced nutrition than pediasure. The calories are not from sugar, and overall it is about twice the vitamins per serving.

Between two and three many children grow into their weight. The "baby fat" spreads out as they get taller. If your doctor is not worried about weight (she is above the 50th percentile), then neither should you be.

Has she grown in height? If she has not grown at least two inches in the last year, you need to have her growth hormone level checked by a pediatric endocrinologist.

Ann Marie
(Author of "Taming the Terrible Twos: A Parent's Survival Guide")

Sandi - posted on 10/11/2009

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I am torn on this one - I do not under ANY circumstances believe that a child should be forced to eat everything on their plate, or that dessert should be used as a bribe. I am very obese and a lot of it stems from these things being used on me when I was a child. I have twin six-year-olds that went through this. I found for them that getting one of those little playschool tables with chairs just their size, plus using sandwich plates and toddler sized flatware, worked WONDERS. Does the doctor seem concerned about her weight? Does she look like Lara Flynn Boyle, all skin and bones? If no to both, then don't be too concerned. Kids will eat when they are hungry. And if my kids don't eat their meal, they get nothing else until the next meal. Period. A combination of these things may work for your little eater!

Sharon - posted on 10/11/2009

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When my toddlers refused to sit at the regular chair - they were put back into their highchairs.

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11 Comments

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Brejiek - posted on 06/28/2011

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I am having the same problem. My daughter is almost 2, she doesn't eat any thing but fruit a little chicken, and some fries. She has never had a high chair so that is probably why my daughter does not eat at the right time or respect the food. You should monitor what she likes to eat then try offering the food that she likes.

Tyrina - posted on 10/11/2009

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give her what she likes thats what i do with my 2 year old when do not like what i cook!

Tyrina - posted on 10/11/2009

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just let her eat on the floor with her plate makes it easier thats what i do with my daughter and after! she is happy then i just clean up her mess and every one is happy!

Jessica - posted on 10/11/2009

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You could try buying her a "special plate" or a "special place mat". My daughter is 2 also and 26 pounds. I would make a plate and let her eat as much as she feels like...then leave it sitting for awhile. Then decrease the amount of time you leave it sitting for her until she understands that there is only a certain amount of time to eat.

Candice - posted on 10/11/2009

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have you tried buying the booster seats for the kitchen table (u can still strap her in) my son is 2 and has done the same thing but i just tell him he dont get any dessert if he dosnt eat his dinner (he has to eat atleast half) and if he dosnt then he is removed from the table and sits in his room without playing with toys and told that he can come out when he is ready to eat...he only gets sent 2 his room 2 times befor he responds to it and eats his dinner...and food can be boaring sometime so just try and make it excited and lots of flavours she likes... also maybe let her help prepare dinner..i do it with my son, if im boiling potatoes then i peel and cut them and then let him help put them in the pot ( he loves it) she might eat it cos shes help make it ....hope that helps

Lindsey - posted on 10/11/2009

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ask her what she wants to eat, tell her it has to be at the table or no food, eventually she will eat, she'll get too hungry to refuse

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