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Desperate for a Change in our Dinnertime/Eating! - Page 2

post #21 of 51

Hi luckymama, that sounds like a really tough situation and I don't pretend to have the magic answer

I just wanted to add a small tidbit regarding your question about how to get them to try stuff at least once.

I have found that the best way for my kids to try something new is for them to have seen it a bunch of times (so it's not really 'new').

The first two, three, four times it shows up on the dinner table they may not touch it and that is OK.  I may encourage them that it is delicious but not push it.

Maybe the fifth or sixth time they might take a small bite.

After that it could become one of their favorites.  This has happened with several foods.  (Others have continued to be rejected and that is OK too.)  Something about having seen the food a bunch of times can put it in the 'familiar and therefore nonthreatening' category even if the child hasn't actually tried it before

 

good luck!

post #22 of 51

I don't have time to read all of your responses, looks like there's a lot of good stuff there but wanted to say I know where you're at. DD has always been a tough eater -wouldn't even accept solids until 10 plus months (this is when the pediatrician said we should force it on her) and so began the battle of getting her to eat.  I know the anxiety that comes with begging and pleading and bribing your kids to eat at each meal, and it's a bad place to be.  Luckily, your kids are old enough now to say when they are hungry, and I've learned that they WILL do this -eventually.  I found that when I stopped ALL of the charades around the dinner table, that it got a lot easier, and she started to eat more.  Food can easily become a battle of wills and a power struggle, and that's the wrong message to send.  Have you ever read "how to get your kid to eat, but not too much" ?  That's a good one.

 

What we do now is dinner is made each night with a main, a veg, a fruit and protein that I know they like (1/2 pb sandwich, scrambled eggs, handful of cashews, sliced ham, chicken, whatever) we all sit down to eat (ya right) and if she wants to crawl on the floor, run down the hall, ignore the food completely, that's her choice.  But eventually, when she gets hungry -and they will, that's what they are going to be offered. I don't have rules about how much they eat or that they try EACH thing, it just has to be a reasonable effort.  And as long as I get my timing right -several hours before bedtime -this allows time for her to come around, and at the very least eats one portion of good protein, and try a bite or two of something new.  I've also given up on expecting her to sit through an entire meal.  It never happens -I'm sure it will eventually. I would imagine that when she's 20 and on a date with some guy in a romantic restaurant that she wont need to run laps around the dinner table in between bites, but for now -just one thing at a time. I assure you,  that as soon as you back off a little, they'll surprise you. good luck!

post #23 of 51

For me, it was (and still is) very important to respect my children and their tastes, just as it is important they respect mine.  And I'm a very big believer in "do what you want your kids to do" sort of parenting.  Further, even at a young age I think kids develop food likes and dislikes, just like I do.  Sometimes these are based on actual taste or texture, and sometimes just the look or smell of something is enough for me to say "no thank you".  So, since I don't force myself to eat something I dislike, I won't force them either.  I also wanted them to develop eating habits based on their need for food (their hunger cues), rather than on my potential-wrong belief in what they should be eating.  I was raised in a very strict "you will eat this" household and I never, ever want to get into those situations with my children.  In my childhood the way you "enforced" the x # of bites rule, or the "eat what you are given rule" violates just about everything Mothering stands for, including beating, confining at the table, force feeding etc.  So my need/desire for a very different model for my kids was pretty intense.

 

Anyway, here's what worked for us.  First, have faith in your children and their bodies.  And realize that skipping meals and/or not having a "balanced" meal isn't going to hurt them.  Forcing them to try something might have a bigger negative impact than a month of weird meals.  Once my kids were out of the highchair, here is how we managed family breakfast and dinner.  Now they are 10 and 14, so the issues are changing, but these are still the guidelines for dinner.  1.  They must come to the table to say grace.  2.  They don't have to eat anything, or anything they don't want.  I do plan meals around general family likes and dislikes.  3.  If they are hungry but don't want what I have prepared they are free to get themselves something else from the kitchen and return to the table to eat with the family.  From the time they were 3 they could make a simple sandwich or find the cheese and crackers or yogurt or fruit bowl.  4.  Once I have served dinner, I am eating my meal while it is hot and engage in pleasant conversation.  I am NOT going to fix anything else for anyone.

 

I pack lunches for them and they either eat what I pack or buy something else.  I pay for lunches if they tell me they want to buy rather than have a packed lunch, but once I've packed something, anything else is on them.  If they complain about what I am packing, then they can pack their own lunch for a while. :-)

 

They are free to snack on whatever they want whenever they want.  I don't buy anything I don't want them to eat, though I do try to buy stuff they want (or at least healthier options).  Now that they are old enough that they are coming home from school on their own, they can buy "junk" snacks if they want, but it's their money.

 

We do a lot of farmers market shopping and teaching the kids to cook.  We do a lot of food education.  And we watch a lot of the food network!  I think that helps their sense of adventurous eating.

 

Basically, I took all the possible stress out of mealtimes and food in general.  And I'm happy, my kids generally eat just about anything. Warning -- "eat anything" can result in some very expensive restaurant tabs!  We do have some weight challenges (in both directions), but they are side-effects of medications and we'd have them anyway.  We all take a multivitamin because my son has food restrictions for medical reasons so there are nutrients that I know we don't get enough of.

 

You know how they say dogs pick up on fear and stress?  I think kids do too, and it just makes mealtimes into a "downward death spiral".  My personal decision was that nothing was worth getting there.

post #24 of 51

I wanted to add that my way isn't really working! I had offered that when for a short while ds was eating more foods he otherwise did not in exchange for dessert.

But the realty now is I just plain let him eat too much sweets and just plain do not enforce he eat some of the healthier food. Same with letting him drink too much juice and not enough water. so right now he has this (very mild light pink- to others it looks like rosy cheek but to me I can se it has a bumpy texture) 'rash' on his cheeks I am thinking is diet related. And I feel mom guilt. It is weird because as parents there is so much to learn as we go.  In figuring out all the other aspects of parenting I have been too lenient with  sweets and so forth and allowing ds to be picky/.

I just don't know how to enforce him to eat healthier.

 

I think cooking every day and then having it be good and having my 3 yr old eat it feels sometimes overwhelming as a job to me!I try my best but I realize now I need to just get less sweets. I cook pretty healthy foods but we will sit down for dinner and ds will just ot eat it. And in the moment dh and I don't know how to get him to! So we let him not do it and then feed him something less healthy later.

So really I am with the OP in asking how do I get my almost 4 yr old to eat healthier?

Some friends say- just feed them what you want and if they are hungry they will eat it. I just give in too fast maybe? What are some more tips?


Edited by Snapdragon - 12/19/13 at 12:19pm
post #25 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
 

I wanted to add that my way isn't really working! I had offered that when for a short while ds was eating more foods he otherwise did not in exchange for dessert.

But the realty now is I just plain let him eat too much sweets and just plain do not enforce he eat some of the healthier food. Same with letting him drink too much juice and not enough water. so right now he has this (very mild light pink- to others it looks like rosy cheek but to me I can se it has a bumpy texture) 'rash' on his cheeks I am thinking is diet related. And I feel mom guilt. It is weird because as parents there is so much to learn as we go.  In figuring out all the other aspects of parenting I have been too lenient with  sweets and so forth and allowing ds to be picky/.

I just don't know how to enforce him to eat healthier.

 

I think cooking every day and then having it be good and having my 3 yr old eat it feels sometimes overwhelming as a job to me!I try my best but I realize now I need to just get less sweets. I cook pretty healthy foods but we will sit down for dinner and ds will just ot eat it. And in the moment dh and I don't know how to get him to! So we let him not do it and then feed him something less healthy later.

So really I am with the OP in asking how do I get my almost 4 yr old to eat healthier?

Some friends say- just feed them what you want and if they are hungry they will eat it. I just give in too fast maybe? What are some more tips?


You'll have to ask yourself: what is my ultimate goal in feeding my kids?

 

For me it was the following:

- meals to be a pleasant experience for the whole family

- kids to be willing to join us at the table, to eat with pleasure and gusto and to have good dinner table manners

- kids to be adventurous with food and enjoy eating

- kids to be in tune with their bodies, to recognize when they are hungry and when to stop.

 

What and how much to eat is not even on my list. I've read somewhere that if the eating experience is not pleasant, nutrition suffers.

I'll be back later, have to go :)

post #26 of 51

nightwish   I would be interested to hear more. What you suggested all sounds good to me n=but I want to know HOW to make that happen???

post #27 of 51

Consider having family meals (if you don't already have them). Work out a routine that works for your family.

 

I found that, for us, having three meals and two snacks a day works well. My dk have their breakfast at daycare, then a snack in the morning at school, then lunch, another snack around 4 at daycare and I serve dinner around 6.

 

Plan meals in advance, pair foods that your dk likes with foods that he likes less, or are new to him. Once you place them on the table, help him serve himself and eat as much or as little as he wants.

Let him have as much juice as he wants during mealtime, and then offer just water between meals.

Personally, I give my kids one box of juice a day in their lunch boxes and offer milk or water with meals at home, mostly because I don't like juice myself.

But I would recommend that you don't make drastic changes in your dk's menu at once, because it won't last. Just have the same food you are cooking and serving now, but at mealtimes or sit-down snacks.

One very very important thing - turn all electronics off and sit down with them and enjoy your meal. Don't pressure, bargain, withdraw dessert if he doesn't eat X amount of food that you consider essential. Some days (maybe at the beginning, especially if your meals were a battleground until now), your dk won't eat anything, or will eat only a bowl of plain pasta. But he'll come around eventually.

About desserts: if you do desserts (some families I know simply don't enjoy desserts), offer one portion only, not conditioned on what and how much your child eats.

 

I have to admit it was very hard to implement this in my own family. I had my own hangups and fears surrounding food. It was hard to keep my wits about me when my ds wouldn't touch meat or my dd wouldn't eat a salad. But after they started trusting me that I won't pressure them in any way to eat certain amounts of certain foods, they started becoming more adventurous with food and they would try just about anything now, at their own request.

My dd loves cooked vegetables and is slowly warming up to salads. Ds hasn't been eating chicken in months, tonight he just surprised me and ate a whole chicken leg. And the funny part is I hadn't even noticed until the end of the meal - he helped himself.

 

This is the website that helped me tremendously: http://ellynsatterinstitute.org/htf/joytofeed.php

 

HTH

post #28 of 51

thank you! I haven't clicked on the website yet but that is excellent advice.

Tonight I made dinner just after I had read your last post. I consciously made a calm setting ,set the table nice, lit candles. But it happened that dh was home and somewhat relaxed from not working today and could fully entertain ds while I took the time to cook. Anyway- sometimes it is chaotic and making a nice space is a challenge (partially our living situation which is changing son but that is another story)

 

Anywya-- ds ate one of the three things I had and then we really wanted him (dh and I talking privately) to try the ckicken soup with rice thing I had made- but were unsure how to go aobut it.

Anyway we did get him to try a bite after resistance and then he liked it and ate maybe 8 bites.

Which was progress. And I served just water at dinner and he drank it.

Then he was hungry later and had his usual oatmeal= and oatmeal is fine with me.

I also have to just get less sweets, get less stressed about feeding him., and be more firm I think. I don't know- I am just going to keep trying!

post #29 of 51

I have raised several kids with major eating issues - foster and bio-kids, autism, sensory issues, picky eaters, anorexia, trauma history including serious neglect in the realm of food, aversions of all sorts, extreme overeating and food-hoarding - you name it. Also some pretty horrible table manners, no idea how to act in a restaurant, etc. I have been pretty low-key about is all. The following is the general approach that worked with everyone (I had up to 6 kids in my home at a time, and would have gone nuts with different meals/plans for each!) It took me some time to let go of my notions about nutrition and "clean your plate" attitudes. Rather than balanced meals, I aimed for balanced months - and I did give them gummi vitamins. I think this was more for my guilt than their nutrition!:D

 

There was ALWAYS a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter. Anyone was welcome to all they wanted, any time, no need to ask. Same with a basket of granola bars. There were often other snack choices - carrots and ranch, popcorn, cheese and crackers, hard-boiled eggs. Again, these were free-range.

 

For dinner, I cooked fairly healthy but not too strange meals. Homemade macaroni and cheese, maybe with ham and/or broccoli in it, or spaghetti with meat/tomato sauce. Asian style stir fry with rice. Hearty soups and stews. Things like that, lots of one-dish meals, sometimes added a salad. Everybody was welcome to either eat what I cooked, or fix themselves a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Or eat fruit and granola bars. Or not - it was OK to just hang out at the table.

 

Breakfast was at school on weekdays, but on weekends or holidays, I would make oatmeal or biscuits, and have out a variety of condiments/toppings, and everyone served themselves. Butter, maple syrup, fresh or dried fruit or berries, cheese, nuts, whatever came to mind. The kids loved "inventing" their own recipes.

 

Dinnertime was at least as much a social event as a nutritional one. Pleasant conversation, planning for tomorrow, games, jokes, and silliness. It was often the only time we all sat down together, and everyone wanted to be there. We didn't have the competition of TV or electronics, and everyone seemed more than happy to interrupt whatever else they were doing to join. If someone had chosen to continue playing instead (I always gave a 10 minute warning before I served), I would have just looked quizzically, maybe asked, "Really?" and let them choose. But I don't remember that ever happening.

 

I never bought food I didn't want to have them eat. If I bought or made popsicles or cookies  for example, it would be for an occasion, expected to be finished in an afternoon. Or I occasionally baked a pie, or bought ice cream. But I never kept much sweets in the house. Same with chips and foods like that - maybe for a picnic, but I didn't normally have them around.

 

Eventually, even the pickiest eaters got a bit more adventurous. The kids who had experienced severe hunger came to trust that food would always be plentiful. My boy with serious sensory issues now, at 17, eats everything except mashed potatoes (or food of that consistency and texture) - his favorite treat is sushi. This is the kid I swear lived on nothing but popcorn for 3 or 4 years!

 

I agree with those above who suggest relaxing about the eating altogether. It really will sort itself out. I love the picture of the 20 year old running lapps around the table with her date at the romantic restaurant. I will chuckle about that all night!

post #30 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
 

thank you! I haven't clicked on the website yet but that is excellent advice.

Tonight I made dinner just after I had read your last post. I consciously made a calm setting ,set the table nice, lit candles. But it happened that dh was home and somewhat relaxed from not working today and could fully entertain ds while I took the time to cook. Anyway- sometimes it is chaotic and making a nice space is a challenge (partially our living situation which is changing son but that is another story)

 

Anywya-- ds ate one of the three things I had and then we really wanted him (dh and I talking privately) to try the ckicken soup with rice thing I had made- but were unsure how to go aobut it.

Anyway we did get him to try a bite after resistance and then he liked it and ate maybe 8 bites.

Which was progress. And I served just water at dinner and he drank it.

Then he was hungry later and had his usual oatmeal= and oatmeal is fine with me.

I also have to just get less sweets, get less stressed about feeding him., and be more firm I think. I don't know- I am just going to keep trying!


Snapdragon, that's not what I meant. If anything, I would be less firm, not more with your ds's eating.

I would give him control over what and how much to eat. The way I see it, my job as a parent is feeding, deciding what foods to offer and maintaining a stable routine (when and where to feed them); my dk's job is eating (deciding what - of what I am offering - and how much to eat). When I interfere with their job of eating, with any pressure whatsoever, their eating habits get worse.

I've been there, negociating the number of bites, and it didn't feel right at all. I asked myself: is this what I want my children to learn, that they shouldn't trust their bodies, of what and how much they need? That some foods are "good" and others are "bad"? That they should eat stuff they don't want just because it's "good for them"? (As an aside note, have you noticed how the list of "good foods" and "bad foods" changed over the years? A while ago, everything had do be low fat. Sugar was anathema. Carbs were the worst. Now apparently fat is "in". And aspartame and artificial sweeteners cause ADHD.)

With forcing/bribing/negociating you get maybe a small victory. You get the kid to try the food you wanted him to try. But I think in the long run, you lose more. He is still not eager to try new food, to come to the table joyfully, and will stick with the food that's safe for him (like oatmeal).

 

GL in your journey. I know it was a tough and humbling one for me. As a parent, I expected to control things like how my kids sleep and what they eat. Then I discovered they have their own minds. You can force or bribe them to sleep or eat in a certain way, but you can't make them :)

post #31 of 51

hey- I was actually thinking about this a lot last night and did finally go to that website. I see what you mean about being less firm. I wrote that before I had processed what you wrote and before I read the website.

 

I think there are good ideas on there. Today I was more relaxed about it!

 

I think a lot of it is a learning process for me on how to be a parent! things like eating sleeping and so many other catagories of parenting have their learning curve. I appreciate your information and will think aobut it and try it.

post #32 of 51

My philosophy:  Mom chooses what to eat and when to eat.  Kid chooses how much (if any) to eat.  

 

I do respect preferences for taste and texture, but just because a child dislikes something doesn't mean it won't occasionally be served.  There's always plenty of side dishes to eat if the main dish is unappealing. 

 

Your children will not starve themselves to the point of harm (exceptions granted for those with severe psychological/physical/emotional issues).  If a meal is served and they choose to eat three bites, or no bites, then that's fine.  They'll have a meal or snack again in a few hours and they can choose to eat something then.  Eventually, they will eat. 

post #33 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by luckymamaoftwo View Post
 

Also, one thing I keep reading is that we shouldn't only give dessert on nights when they've eaten well. Rather, they should be able to have dessert even after a "poor" dinner because otherwise we're reinforcing the idea the two points that you numbered above. Just wondering how you handle the sweets thing?

I don't have any first-hand experience, only what my parents did and comparing to what my in laws did:

I don't think desserts are necessary. We didn't do dessert every night. We don't do dessert every night now as adults, and I have no intention of doing it when our kids are old enough for it to be relevant. My parents also never made dessert a big deal- one time, when I was little, I asked to have ice cream for breakfast. They let me. I've grown up not super interested in dessert because it isn't something "special", it's just another variety of food.

 

If you don't want to use desserts as a reward, even accidentally, you don't have to do them. Keep them as a special occasion/when the mood strikes you thing.

 

If you're offering healthy enough desserts, it also may help to look at them as another course rather than a "reward" or something "special". Someone talked about offering it with the meal- which seems like a good way to do it. As people have mentioned, some kids are more willing to eat "gross" food if they can immediately wash out the taste with something yummy. You can make/get things like cake and frozen things that are fairly healthy. Just treat the sweet stuff as part of the meal. If your kids only eat fruit and no vegetables- at least they're getting something into their belly and it's something relatively healthy.  Especially if you're worried about your kids' weight.

 

Also- I have serious stomach problems that makes food really tricky. There tends to be a long list of foods I can't eat and that list can change. I'm still able to eat relatively healthily, I haven't faced any problems due to malnutrition. I take vitamins, but this is mostly for peace of mind- I don't know if they have any value. I don't know if this is what's going on with your kids- but if it is, it makes things very difficult because it takes a long time to learn to listen to your body and recognize "I don't like the taste of this, but it won't cause any problems for me and it's healthy so I should eat it" vs "This will make me sick".

 

I really agree with leaving certain things out as snacks that they can graze on throughout the day- if you're playing a game that isn't too messy, you can keep it nearby as well, things like that. My dad had a lot of success with this method. It gives kids control over what they eat and when and presents the options without any pressure from the parents. Friends who refused to eat their vegetables at home would happily munch carrots and broccoli because dad would just leave it around as an option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Snapdragon View Post
 

I wanted to add that my way isn't really working! I had offered that when for a short while ds was eating more foods he otherwise did not in exchange for dessert.

But the realty now is I just plain let him eat too much sweets and just plain do not enforce he eat some of the healthier food. Same with letting him drink too much juice and not enough water. so right now he has this (very mild light pink- to others it looks like rosy cheek but to me I can se it has a bumpy texture) 'rash' on his cheeks I am thinking is diet related.

I have no idea if this will help or not, but:

 

Water has always made me sick. It gives me a stomachache. If I drink it while exercising, I tend to get dizzy. If I'm completely parched (say- from running around, a long walk on a hot day, etc)- I can drink it so long as it's COLD without ill-effect, but that's the only time. I don't remember if I ever told my parents this, if I did I was too little to remember (I imagine I did as I can't remember water being seriously pushed on me- it was an option, but that was it, and my mom always drank water and was TOTALLY the type to try and get me to drink more if she didn't know not to).

 

I have no idea if this is what's going on with your son- but, as you can imagine, I've never had a lot of water. I'd suggest watering down the juice. I can't drink water, but I can drink watered down drinks, and I really don't like full potency drinks because my stomach is also sensitive to sugar and acid. When I make apple juice for myself, from condensed, I do over twice as much water. So the amount I drink over a day comes out to the same as 2 or 3 glasses of straight water and a glass of apple juice- even though I had three or four glasses of juice.

 

If you already are watering it down- just push it. See how far you can push the water:juice ratio before he'll turn his nose up at it and periodically check to see if he'll take it a little bit more watered down. Give it at the strength he'll normally take it with a few ice cubes.

 

Look into teas and other such drinks as well. For real tea (as opposed to herbal, although I suppose herbal as well)- you can steep it, (maybe make a cup for yourself ;) ) then make him a cup using the same bag- it's weaker, and also gets rid of most of the  caffeine.

post #34 of 51
I am going to make a leap here, in kindness and with empathy, but also tough love. You have two issues I see: BEHAVIOR and FOOD. I could be wrong, but the two close families I know who also avoid restaurants and guests at dinner have a lack of control in general over their kids. Seeing your child in a public places is a great acid test for how parenting is going. So uh...how is your discipline? My best lesson was 'the voice of god' (speaking each word of a direction separately and distinctly in ominous quiet while looking them in the eye at their level). On the food front, kefir cream mixed in yogurt is a great way to get weight on. Recipes abound on Google, very simple. Breaking apart meals into all the parts unmixed has been my grace: think rise bowl with beans, cabbage, tofu, peanut sauce...I have various small strategies for food but no miracles. I will say both my friends with kids like yours are largely solo, have kids fairly close together, and are naturally kind women who find firm discipline difficult. I see their wild kids as the absence of support; they cannot rise to the level of brainstorming manners when they are just trying to get the laundry done. How is your support? How is your sleep? Try picnics with low resistance food to find some joy again. Good luck to you!
post #35 of 51

I didn't mean to hijak op's thread/ We are doing somewhat better.

I have been stressing less about it.

Allowing less sweets.

And just trying my best--- and not worrying too much if he doesn't eat what I make.(or I mean if he doesn't eat what I offer first- ) (he eats plenty we are just ironing out the when and what of it)

I feel quite a bit better about it somehow than I did before, just feeling like I don'tneed to worry about it quite so much as I did.


Edited by Snapdragon - 12/27/13 at 8:49pm
post #36 of 51
I don't have time to read every response, but I wanted to say that eliminating snacks is important to kids having a healthy appetite for a meal. I don't understand how a kid can eat nothing at most meals and not be hungry... Unless she is filling up on snacks.
post #37 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by cynthiamoon View Post

I don't have time to read every response, but I wanted to say that eliminating snacks is important to kids having a healthy appetite for a meal. I don't understand how a kid can eat nothing at most meals and not be hungry... Unless she is filling up on snacks.


It depends on the situation. If the kid is snacking and not eating because they aren't hungry- I agree.  I could be wrong, but it sounds like the OP only gives a late night snack because otherwise the kids wake up from hunger- although if they're grazing throughout the day, that may be the problem.

 

But some kids will simply refuse to eat. Anorexia has been diagnosed in kids as young as 7, and there are many other eating dysfunctions in childhood and even infancy. There are also children who will refuse to eliminate until they require surgery, kids who'll refuse to sleep, etc- children are not always good at meeting their own needs. That's why they need parents. When a child is losing weight/not gaining weight/unhealthily thin- the problem is not filling up on snacks!

 

When a child is refusing to eat at mealtimes, an unhealthy weight, showing signs of not eating enough- snacking may be the only way to get enough nutrition into the kid.

post #38 of 51

I'm rooting for you Snapdragon!

 

I wanted to share what's our approach to sweets - if it's any help to you. It helped my kids and *me* to be balanced in our eating.

I have a sweet tooth. Until adulthood I alternated between banning sweets from my house completely, then gorging on them when I was too deprived.

Now I keep sweets in the house and serve dessert every day, because it's something we enjoy. But I limit desserts to one portion only a day. It's the only thing I limit as far as food is concerned, and dk caught up on this rule pretty quickly (one portion of dessert only, not conditioned on what and how much they eat).

I am now able to avoid a lot of hassle (like dk negociating the number of bites they have to eat to "earn" dessert, or them begging for seconds on dessert, or asking for sweets between meals).

 

Also, I periodically serve unlimited sweets as a snack, so the sweets don't compete with other foods. I bake a batch of cookies and put a plate of warm cookies with milk on the table and we all sit down and enjoy. I found that after a while they lose their appeal as forbidden food. Ds - who has a sweet tooth just like me - takes just a couple of cookies, and dd sometimes refuses sweets altogether.

post #39 of 51
Quote:
Originally Posted by sillysapling View Post
 


It depends on the situation. If the kid is snacking and not eating because they aren't hungry- I agree.  I could be wrong, but it sounds like the OP only gives a late night snack because otherwise the kids wake up from hunger- although if they're grazing throughout the day, that may be the problem.

 

But some kids will simply refuse to eat. Anorexia has been diagnosed in kids as young as 7, and there are many other eating dysfunctions in childhood and even infancy. There are also children who will refuse to eliminate until they require surgery, kids who'll refuse to sleep, etc- children are not always good at meeting their own needs. That's why they need parents. When a child is losing weight/not gaining weight/unhealthily thin- the problem is not filling up on snacks!

 

When a child is refusing to eat at mealtimes, an unhealthy weight, showing signs of not eating enough- snacking may be the only way to get enough nutrition into the kid.


I agree with you, but if a child has medical issues, he/she and the parents need professional help. In the rare cases when the child has an illness - that you mentioned in your post, advice given on a parenting forum will not help.

post #40 of 51

The number one thing that helps me with DD at the dinner table is make sure she is really hungry come dinnertime. No snacks. It's hard when she's all sweet-eyes and "Mama I'm hungry" but I stand my ground, "No food until dinner time". Then she eats and all the annoying behaviour stops - at least until she is full. 

 

The second thing, and this is not just about food, what ever you make into a problem becomes a problem. DP and I are learning as we go: whenever we start worrying about a certain "topic", it's as if DD by some sixth sense picks up on it and the whole thing spirals into a big problem, a power struggle with a lot of frustration. It is very very hard to apply (at least for me) but almost always (excluding any serious issue) is to pretend the issue is not a big deal. Practical application: oh you don't want to eat this, ok (and I put the dish away) - nothing else will be served and I try to say that very very neutrally - no negative tone. DD went a few times to bed without dinner. She usually has a big breakfast the next day. I know this makes me harsh a bit but I don't mind if they go hungry for one meal. 

 

As to behaviour - well we have that too but it comes in clusters, I feel every once in a while she's testing me and then gives up on it. I try to always do the same thing. Keep my cool and tell her "Can you please look at me for a second (and I make sure I have her attention) - XYZ is not acceptable at the dinner table".  If she does not stop, I say "ok if you can't stop right now, we'll have to leave the dinner table."  Then I take her (at this point she is crying) and we sit in the bedroom together until she is done crying/screaming/whatever. I give her a hug and we go back to the table. I don't know if this is going to work when she gets older. 

 

I do not "ask" for her to stop. I tell her to stop. I make sure that when "no" is not an ok answer, that I never formulate the question as a request. That helps a lot. I know because DP formulates everything as a request and she's more inclined to "misbehave" with him. 

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