dinner time battles (how do you win lol)?

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KathG
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Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:48 pm 
Post subject: dinner time battles (how do you win lol)?
My LO knows what he will eat and what he wont - fish finger chips and toast will get gobbled up immediately and he has endless requests for biscuits and sweeties.... so his appetite isn't the problem. However he has recently became unwilling to eat/ even try anything that's not on his ok list (which is getting shorter). Things like mashed potato, fish or mac cheese - which he would eat as a baby he now wont even try.

Tonight things came to a head when we spent a lot of time (and money) on a pasta with fish dish. He refused to even try it (to even have it in front of him). I got frustrated and said "try your dinner or go to the naughty spot" this (as I am sure you can guess) led to tears, two rounds of the naughty spot and still not a bite passed his lips. I cant let him go hungry so he ends up eating "rubbish" as per usual. I know that sending him to the naughty spot for not eating cant be a regular thing and don't want to make dinner time unhappy for him .... so what do you do? His diet is terrible and there seems to be nothing we can do to change it.
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RachN3Babies
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Posted: Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:57 pm 
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Tea time is a constant battle for me in my house. Lewis won't eat very much at all... Unless it's cheese... But ita not because he doesn't like the food I'm giving him... He's just too busy trying to get down and go do other things..

Does your lo eat with you and your oh? If he sees you eating the same foods that can help sometimes... Or putting food on a plate and pretending it's yours and leaving it unattended so they 'pinch' it.. Another tactic I use is 'picnic' and we all sit on the sitting room floor and eat off the same plates.. None of these are long term solutions but do seem to help me get Lewis to eat something... He ended up with a cheese toastie for tea last night as he only ate 2 mini meatballs on his actual tea...
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Sorry if I've waffled on a bit.. Some of my tricks might not work cos your lo is younger but I understand the frustration your feeling.. We have tried punishments ans rewards and none of it really works and I feel awful punishing him about eating cos I don't want him to dread meal times like I do.... X
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Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 6:17 am 
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For me it was simple, eat what you're given or you get nothing else Question
I didn't use the naughty spot/chair/step or any other "punishment" as such just merely gave them the opportunity to eat their food and if they repeatedly refused I told them that they weren't getting anything else and then removed the food without making a fuss about it, and they got nothing else until the next meal Question , it might take a time or two but if you stick to it then they know you're serious and will tend to eat, trouble with giving them something else is that even a toddler understands enough to see that as a victory and can then start refusing anything that isn't a favourite because he knows Mummy will cave and give him something he likes better Shocked Laughing
If children are genuinely hungry they will eat what they're given (I know there are exceptions like genuine food phobias but they're pretty rare) and missing one meal isn't going to do any physical or psychological damage , but I think as toddlers kids start testing you for want of a better word to see what they can get away with , and eating does seem to be one of the ways some of them do that , I think you just have to stay firm in the same way you would with anything else and in a few days he'll realise he's not going to get his own way anymore Smile Good luck x
abbie29
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Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:40 am 
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We're the same - she eats what is in front of her or she doesn't get anything else. We don't punish her or make a fuss if she doesn't eat it and we make sure we make her portions small, especially of new foods. She has to sit at the table until everyone's finished and then we just clear the plates ( obviously not if she's still eating!) she still makes a fuss - last night she decided she didn't like bolognese but we just carried on eating and she started to eat too. We always praise her for eating her dinner nicely or trying something new even if its only a tiny bit. She went through a phase of only wanting yoghurt so I think they all try it! X
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michelletv
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Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 7:54 am 
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All 3 my kids are fussy eaters. one doesnt eat vegetables, another wont try anything new. the little one is experimenting at the moment, so we give her bits of food to try out. She eats quite well at the daycare during the day, so we dont stress ourselves too much at night if she doesnt eat.
my middle daughter loves chocolates (i know its not a good thing) but she eats her food before indulging in a piece or two. she is also a picky eater!
i stressed when my son was small , cause he ate only what he liked, but today he is 17 and eats much of what we eat although he still does not eat vegetables.
i think as older parents we have learnt to relax more. we figured out that punishing doesnt help and we dont force them either, besides both hubby and myself with defenitely not eat anything we dont like either. so i guess it goes for the kids as well.
if you concerned about vitamins etc, i have my daughter on a good shake once a day, but i am not sure if you get it over there. its called Pediasure and it comes in choc and vanilla. its like a meal replacement with everything they need and they love it. its not a solution to the problem , but when all else fails, a shake will make you both feel better.
every mother wants what is best for their children, so please do what is best for your child, as this is only my opinion and what works for me.
have a great day!xx
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Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:22 pm 
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I know how you feel my little man has been like this for ages apart from after illness where he are anything!!!

I now just give him what is on his plate abd he gets nothing else. Depending on the meal if its safe to I leave it out for a couple of hours in easy reach in case hunger gets the better of him. It's very frustrating especially when you've spent time, energy and money preparing something for them to point blank refuse it. I just try to remember he won't starve!! Don't punish with naughty step because this can make meal times even more of a battle.

You are doing just fine try not to stress like I'd did for many months over meal times!
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KathG
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Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 5:21 pm 
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Thanks for the tips everyone, you have given me lots to think about and lots of ideas to try. Will try the picnic in the living room and letting him graze from "my" plate and see if I can sneak some vitamins into him. If that doesn't work will try being a bit tougher with the "that's your dinner take or leave it" school of thought ..... I know what people are saying when you talk about not using the naughty spot and making dinner time stressful. I agree that doesn't help anyone. Thanks for taking the time to reply.
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hayley2903
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Posted: Thu Jul 04, 2013 10:09 pm 
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Lola is fussy but its more about how its presented for example she wont eat veg if its just sat on her plate but if its mixed in with the mash she picks it out :s
She also spits food out if she is helped to eat it in anyway and if she refuses to eat with her fingers i give her a fork (and help her fill it) and she'll eat no problem!!
i also started using her dolly as in "dolly was naughty because she didn't eat her tea so were not her friend", she'd find this understandable and got her eating.
i understand why you try different foods though, Lola is a big eater so the few times ive been really frustrated and sent her to bed with nothing she's woken during the night hungry!! Xx
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Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 8:13 am 
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My older son has been a fussy eater from the day I started weaning him so I know how you feel! I I would say don't stress if he hasn't eaten anything kids won't starve and as frustrating as it is when they won't try anything try not to give a reaction. There is absolutely no way my son will try anything and it he doesn't like the look of it will just push his plate away so I know I can't force him to eat it. I don't deprive him of pudding so even if he hasn't eaten his main he can still have a yoghurt. Also I never give him another option - he has to eat what is in front of him or nothing. He knows the rules now and generally sleeps well so I don't worry anymore too much.Food is one of the only things they have control over so try not to make out that he is naughty if he doesn't eat.

However even with his limited diet (mainly cheese, toast, pasta, bananas) he has constant diarrhoea so we're actually due to see a dietician next month. We'll see if they have any ideas on how to get him to eat!

xx
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Posted: Fri Jul 05, 2013 7:46 pm 
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Maybe I'm wrong but isn't 18 months a little young to understand eat your dinner or your being naughty?

Isn't it really common for toddlers to be fussy as its one way they can control things?

I give George what we have for dinner and we all eat together, a small piece of everything and he eats what he eats. I have found he takes a while to eat it but best if left to his own accord. Also there are several things he would not eat for ages and I just kept putting them on his plate no pressure and he did eventually eat them. If hes not eaten much then he has fruit for pud and if he eats well and is still hungry then he can have something like a yogurt, rice pudding or banana and custard.

Can you hide veg in anything he'll eat, like tonight i made a pizza and and finely chopped pepper, courgette and tomato under his cheese and he polished off. Spag bol another good one for hiding veg. I also make burgers/meatballs with grated veg in. I really do think the thing is to relax (hard I know) and chalk up the small victories. I've also stopped cooking stuff especially for him and he just has the family meals that way I don't get upset if it's not eaten.
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Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2013 5:38 pm 
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I agree with dl05

give your child food, they eat or they don't, if they don't they go hungry! Don't give him anything else if he doesn't eat it.

give him a tiny portion and if he eats it offer him more.

x
KathG
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Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:47 am 
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Clairebell29 wrote:
Maybe I'm wrong but isn't 18 months a little young to understand eat your dinner or your being naughty?

Isn't it really common for toddlers to be fussy as its one way they can control things?

I give George what we have for dinner and we all eat together, a small piece of everything and he eats what he eats. I have found he takes a while to eat it but best if left to his own accord. Also there are several things he would not eat for ages and I just kept putting them on his plate no pressure and he did eventually eat them. If hes not eaten much then he has fruit for pud and if he eats well and is still hungry then he can have something like a yogurt, rice pudding or banana and custard.

Can you hide veg in anything he'll eat, like tonight i made a pizza and and finely chopped pepper, courgette and tomato under his cheese and he polished off. Spag bol another good one for hiding veg. I also make burgers/meatballs with grated veg in. I really do think the thing is to relax (hard I know) and chalk up the small victories. I've also stopped cooking stuff especially for him and he just has the family meals that way I don't get upset if it's not eaten.


Yes he understands, he might not get that we want him to eat his dinner but he hears me saying "no no no" when he is tipping it onto the floor and he gets that I want to put it on his highchair and he is having a tantrum and not letting me (pushing it away aggressively....). I know its a difficult age and they cant always express themselves or understand why they cant get their own way. I am normally very patient with him and would never send him to the naughty spot if I wasn't sure he understood his behaviour was wrong, but I get when it comes to food it is best avoided. The problem is unless its certain (mainly unhealthy) foods he has a tantrum and loses the plot if you even offer it to him/ expect him to have it on his plate. Thanks for the tips about hiding veg will give that ago too Smile
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Clairebell29
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Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 7:57 pm 
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The tantrums are hard work aren't they? I wasn't saying what you were doing was wrong, it was just more that I didn't think an 18 month old would understand as my little boy wouldn't. Indecently my lo currently find 'no' funny whenever I say it!

I have recently discovered that George will eat a lot more Veg if I put a bit of butter on it! Not sure how good this is but he eats it.
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Clairebell29
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Posted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:00 pm 
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Oh and another thing although this may not make a difference but we recently moved George out of his highchair and onto a booster seat at the table and his eating has improved no end as I think he thinks he's the same as us.
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DL05
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Posted: Mon Jul 08, 2013 6:51 am 
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If he'll eat fish fingers then asda do fish shapes that have veg inside them ? Might trick him into eating it then Laughing I agree on the veg front though a lot of toddlers (and older kids ) if its just on the side of their plate won't touch it but if you mix it in with other things they often don't notice ,I stick all sorts of veg in shepherds pie and often do a layer of sweet potato under the actual potato , I mash cauliflower in with potatoes a lot as well with gravy on the kids never realise Laughing and stick carrot puree in spag bol, plus sometimes kids just don't like specific foods and no matter what you do they won't eat them , as someone else said though just keep offering them, my youngest wouldn't touch sweetcorn for years which I always though was strange as most kids will eat that but I persisted with putting it on his plate and eventually when he was 6 he tried it and decided he did like it after all Shocked Laughing
I wasn't saying that not giving them anything else meant they always ate everything on their plate as it didn't but at least it meant they would eat most of it Smile
Sitting him at the table as well is a good tip as is just giving him the same as you have , try to just ignore any tantrums over food as often the more attention you give the more fuss they make , obviously in public its harder but tantrums over things like that at home we'd just ignore and all carry on eating and talking between ourselves and often whoever was having the tantrum at the time would get bored and sit back down Laughing I've caught more than one of mine having a sneaky look to see if anyone was watching and when they realised they weren't they stopped the tantrum Rolling Eyes Laughing
Maybe call him in to eat once the food is already on the table to avoid him trying to push it away and if he does try to push it on the floor just move it out of reach until he stops, I think even at 18 months old they understand quite a bit and if he realises that tantrums etc. aren't going to work and he's not getting his favourite foods then at least the tantrums might stop , and even if he only eats part of a healthier meal then that's a victory Question xx
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