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Mealtime of a toddler - Need advice!!!

  1. #25
    OX Jess is offline Registered User
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    OK Cara, then I shall not try to put him back on his chair... But, if he has taken two tablespoons of rice and demanded to go and I should let him... Is that it? Lunch is finished until 3pm when he is hungry? It is not a question to challenge you at all (I fear it looks like so)... I just need some 'guidance' and you can see I am adjusting myself to accept this is the way a toddler behaves over mealtime... Argggghhh! Will it give an impression to him that he can have two bites and he can play, lunch/dinner is over?!? Sorry if I sound like a pain :((

  2. #26
    carang's Avatar
    carang is offline Registered User
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    jess, this isn't about challenging. don't worry, i don't look at it that way. i'm just telling you how i would handle it. it is up to you if you want to take it whole, in part, or not at all. no one has all the "answers", we all just have our own experiences. each of us does the best we can, you included. no one is right and no one is wrong. (although, it may sound like that is what we are saying, what we are really saying, is that what you are doing/intend to do is not necessarily how we would do it ourselves.)

    as for your questions:
    yes, let him go. BUT, he cannot have anything else until snack time, which will actually be a "mini-meal", in that it might be a slice of toast and a banana etc. it isn't just a biscuit and a glass of milk.

    he will learn that if he doesn't sit in his chair, he won't get his food. i'm not saying to make a big deal of it, i'm actually saying that you need to stop making a big deal of it.

    if he eats 2 bites then wants to go, let him. do not keep offering food to him. leave him. if he eats lunch at 12pm, then offer something at 2:45-3pm-ish. see if he will sit down to eat. if not, don't force the issue. offer it and if it's not wanted, leave it. at dinner time 6-ish? offer food again, then milk or a banana etc before bed.

    it might take a couple of days of him not eating much but he WILL come around.

    the other thing is, somedays, he will eat more than other days. you need to look at what he eats, not on a daily basis, but on a weekly basis. so maybe, monday & tuesday he doesn't eat much, but on wednesday he eats everything in sight. and then thursday, not so much again... but a little more on friday. on saturday he pigs out but eats virtually nothing on sunday... this is normal.

    maybe it would be easier, i know you are not a SAHM, if you had whomever is caring for him write EVERYTHING he eats down and when he eats it. do it for a week or two, then you will get an idea of what he eats and when... a pattern may emerge that you never knew was there. you may find that breakfast is difficult at 7am but he's starving at 9am. in which case, it might make more sense to shift to having a later breakfast and just something small when he wakes up. you may find that he doesn't eat much at dinner, but he is hungry before bed, in which case, it might be a good idea to move dinner 45 minutes later etc.

    good luck! we've ALL been there! you are not alone!

  3. #27
    jvn
    jvn is offline Registered User
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    I don't think you sound like a pain, you sound like a mum who cares but honestly - he won't starve himself, no healthy child will.

    It really can be true that all he needs is two bites - two table spoons of rice (do you mean teaspoons, table spoons is quite a lot) may be all he needs right then.

    And maybe, in the first few days he will have a bit of an adjustment because he is used to you trying and trying and putting him back so maybe, for a couple of days he'll be thinking, "oh, I wish I hadn't got down 'cos I'm a bit peckish now"... but isn't that what you want him to learn, that eating is for meal and snack times. It won't take him long to realise that if you are consistent and then he will eat what he needs at meals and no more.

    Children are not like us, they don't eat too much of something 'cos they like the taste, they don't feel the need to scrape their plate clean. He will eat as much as he needs and left to himself he won't eat any more.

    On the getting bored front, do you let him feed himself? He sounds like an active little boy so I'm sure he'd enjoy mealtimes more and be willing to stay if you let him do it for himself. My son is very active and easily bored but he will sit in his high chair happily for between 15 minutes on his own and over an hour if we're all eating with him - this is because we put his food in front of him and let him feed himself, it takes him longer and is messy but he enjoys it immensely. He picks up most food with his hand and can spoon feed himself yoghurt, mash or rice if we hold the pot for him.

  4. #28
    OX Jess is offline Registered User
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    Thanks a bunch, Cara. Now I get the whole picture of what you suggested and I have a better idea of what to do.

    Thanks, jvn. Two tablespoons is quite a lot? Really? On every meal (lunch & dinner) I insist he eats up a half bowl (a normal small size of rice bowl) of rice/pasta before I will finally leave him alone... [now you must laugh at me for being 'ridiculous' LOL >< !!! ]

    He LOVES the idea of feeding himself but he can't really manage a spoon/folk well yet. Lately at mealtime he always demands to have a spoon in his hand, either have it for messing about or for really trying to feed himself. I can't leave him to feed himself cos' I don't want the mess (I don't mind a bit of mess but what I am talking about is disaster mess like a whole table and his chair and the floor are full of bits of rice / pasta / tomato sauce here and there!! Once I left a jar of yoghurt for him for 30 seconds you guessed what happened to my sofa!!) And, he is not a big fan of eating with hands, if he gets a bit of sauce/sticky bits on his finger he will get annoyed and determine to get rid of it. Looks a bit funny to me though~~

    Anyway, after reading all the replies here I know I will surely be a lot at ease than before when I have to deal with his 'refuse-to-sit-and-eat' behaviour again ***

  5. #29
    matemate is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by OX Jess View Post
    I can't leave him to feed himself cos' I don't want the mess (I don't mind a bit of mess but what I am talking about is disaster mess like a whole table and his chair and the floor are full of bits of rice / pasta / tomato sauce here and there!! Once I left a jar of yoghurt for him for 30 seconds you guessed what happened to my sofa!!)
    i think they have a term for this: collateral damage, i.e. damage that happens for a good purpose

  6. #30
    jvn
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    Yeah, the mess does get better, he needs to spend a bit of time fully exploring all the mushyness and squish that food has to offer which will take a few weeks but with The Boy now most meals are fairly tidy - just requiring a wipe of the high chair and table and dustpan and brush and cloth on the floor immediately underneath.

    Stuff like pasta is great for self feeding as it's easy to pick up, with the rice you can make little rice balls, potatoes you can boil or bake and slice into wedges for him. Veggies are easy - just steam them and give them to him like that and just slice fruit for him. For me, if I was as worried as you are and he loved feeding himself then I'd let him do it.... maybe just avoid tomatoey sauces for a while and spoon the really gooey stuff like yoghurt.

    I think two tablespoons is a lot, well maybe not a lot but a perfectly reasonable amount - I guess that's what I'm saying about how the food is just a random amount chosen by you that you want him to eat. For me that's fine as a meal, for you it's not enough... it's just the ideas in our heads - The Boy had less than that for lunch and then walked all the way around Ikea... he's not lacking in energy, maybe he'll eat more tonight as he's done lots of exercise... maybe he won't.

    And you're right, it is constantly funny to watch them feed themselves :-) enjoy!

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