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Mealtime of a toddler - Need advice!!!

  1. #1
    OX Jess is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Tuen Mun, Hong Kong

    Mealtime of a toddler - Need advice!!!

    I need advice from other Moms as I'm getting a bit nuts over my son's mealtime.

    My son is 14 months old and he is walking pretty well. He is healthy, putting on weight, weighs 11kgs now. I am not worrying about his health at all.

    But, since he's able to crawl, rarely does he sit down to finish his breakfast/lunch/dinner. He may sit in his high chair for 5-10 minutes then demands to be let go and walk & play in the apartment or else he cries/whines/arches his back/twist his body and refuses to eat! Before he turned one I allowed him to play freely and me to chase him after to feed him. I am however very reluctant to build up this feeding habit/pattern (chasing after him to feed him) and I really want to put a stop to it completely. I tried to insist him to sit in his chair until he finishes his meal but 9 out of 10 times I gave up and let him go without finishing his meal (as he struggled like mad in his chair!!) I really hate the idea of chasing after him, if you know what I mean! But I don't want him to forgo his meals completely or eat lunch at 3:30pm instead of at noon time. I know some Moms out there will say, "why not feeding him lunch at 3pm if he feels hungry at 3pm?" Well, I want to try to set up 'routines' for his daily life, like I put him to bed every night at 9pm. I don't want to give him an impression that lunch is served sometimes at 11:00am, sometimes at 3pm!

    So, my questions are:
    (1) Is it too early to train/discipline a 14-month-old to sit and finish a meal?
    (2) What should I do if a 14-month-old demands to walk around and play and show no interests in eating his meals? Shall I chase after him, if yes, until when? If not, then what can I do to get him eat his meal properly?
    I personally think 14-month-old is the right time to be disciplined because he can understand lot of things we say... Am I wrong?!

    Awhile ago I tried: feed him when he sits in his high-chair, when he demands to get down to play, I let him; then about 20 minutes later, I put him back on his high-chair and feed him... after 10 minutes he wants to get down to play.. round-and-round, it normally takes about 1.5 ~ 2 hours to finish a bowl of meal.

    Just this morning, I lost my temper when he refused to drink his milk, eat one bite of bread and constantly demanded to let go of his chair to play! I know shouldn't lose my temper and that's why I am coming here and see if someone can offer me a piece of advice?!? What method of discipline would work?! Perhaps, I am just a bit too over-reacted!!! Thanks.
    Last edited by OX Jess; 08-17-2010 at 02:43 PM.

  2. #2
    Bumps Guest
    14 months is a little too young to be told to sit and eat. It is a struggle at this age because there are so many things that are far more interesting to him at the moment. The highchair is really not very fun and stimulating...... Try it in small goes. When he has reached his threshold, let him out.... You can leave the rest of his lunch (as long as it is not messy!) around the house/on the coffee table, etc. He will help himself when he is hungry.

    remember ... their attention span is a lot shorter than yours. They have the whole world to learn about :)
    Last edited by Bumps; 08-17-2010 at 04:11 PM.

  3. #3
    southside852 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    welcome to having a boy! my son since around the same time hated his high chair and sitting for meals. we basically fed him where ever he was. we always started every meal in the high chair, but ended up feeding him while he played blocks, on the couch or drawing. we put away the high chair at around 18 months since it was useless and just took up room. it's been like this ever since. he's now 2 and we recently bought a feeding chair that you can just put on the chair so he's part of our meal and we can strap him in b/c he's always running around, but i think that it's just the nature of boys. personally, as long as he's putting on weight etc. ..i would not be too worried about it unless it interferes with your life.

  4. #4
    sorchului is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Hong Kong
    My girl is the same.... she is 19 months and doesn't sit still if she eats at home and if I am around. She behaves better when I am not there or when we eat out during weekends.

    What I do is to give her something else to eat if she has finished about half of her food, so that she won't be hungry. I usually give some bread or yoghurt.

  5. #5
    marie313 is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    hong kong
    i disagree. although i dont have a son, i have worked in schools where ALL children sat down to eat a cooked meal together from the ages of 12 months to 4 years. And my daughter has always sat to eat too.
    i think you kind of shot yourself in the foot by letting him run around before, but if you are consistent he will soon learn.
    If he really cant sit for long, try giving him smaller meals, but more often. eg piece ot toast for breakfast, and then at 10.30 fruit, and then at 12 a small bowl of something, and then a healthy snack at 3, then small dinner at 5.
    some kids find it daunting if they are given a big plate of food. also, have you tried him giving finger food so he can feed himself? you can then increase the meals and make the snacks smaller over time as he gets used to it.
    i definitely think you should stop the chasing around though, otherwise it will be difficult for you to go to restaurants and the longer you leave it the harder it will be for him to change.

  6. #6
    Bumps Guest
    Certainly sounds like a good theory, however, in practice, for some, our little ones are a little too inquisitive and just want to explore. I would prefer them to explore their environment than be stuck in a high chair and be unhappy.

  7. #7
    baffelly is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    I give mine (18 mth) lots of small toys to play with and ultimately my iPhone. It's not the greatest trick either. But at least it keeps him in his chair to eat most of his food. I come to the conclusion that some kids just aren't that interested in food.

  8. #8
    jvn is offline Registered User
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Mid-Levels, Hong Kong
    I would have to ask the question, why should he finish his meal? The amount that each baby needs to eat varies hugely - just ask around on here. He's healthy, he has energy. He's obviously getting plenty of nutrition. The amount he has at each meal is just an amount chosen by you - perhaps it is too much for him. Think how much you'd hate someone insisting you finish your food when you're full.

    Why not try offering him food at mealtimes in the high chair and letting him down when he's had enough. Offer him healthy snacks in between meals.

    Don't chase him, don't stress and I bet he'll be just fine, he'll eat as much as he needs and learn that he needs to eat at meal and snack times if he's hungry.

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