Need GD Meal Time Advice for 2 year old - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 11-21-2007, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I'm having some really frustrating meal time issues with my DS, who turned two in September. It seems like he lives for creating chaotic meals for my family. Dinner is the worst - tonight, for example, it was one piece of flung food after another, one mouth full of chewed up food spat across the table on to DD's plate, constant getting up and climbing up on the other kids' laps and stealing from their plates (not to eat, but to throw), me trying in vain to distract him while still managing to eat dinner, etc. It's been going on for months, and is making me hate dinner time.


Some of the background to help with suggestions -
He is mostly non-verbal. Sometimes he seems to understand everything I say, other times nothing. It's hard to know how much he understands, how much he doesn't understand, and how much he understands that he finds it convenient to tune out. I'm pretty sure he knows he's causing chaos, and he seems to be having a grand time doing it.

He also doesn't eat much. He was a late solids eater, and has never really taken to them. While somedays he will eat like a horse, he generally is more bird like. He's not really picky, but he will usually only eat very small amounts of foods at a time. He is also, as I mentioned above, fond of chewing food and spitting it out. I honestly don't really care if he eats or not - I try to be pretty "eat it or don't" about food, especially since my oldest son has sensory issues that restrict his diet - My goal is not to get DS2 to eat more, or even to stay at the table. I would be perfectly find if he drive by ate (Like, of I put a plate out for him at dinner and he ate a bite or two and was off, and came back for more if he wanted it).

We don't use a high chair for him, because he would scream the whole time he is in it. I would be fine with him not being in a highchair, if not for the taking other people's food and throwing it issue.

I am generally the only parent home at meal times, so I can't have dh entertain him while I eat with the big kids and then switch off. That would be ideal, but it only works on dh's days off, and even then he gravitates to the people with the food.

If I only give him one small bit a food at a time, he climbs up and steals other people's food to throw.

If I try to hold him on my lap during meals, he tantrums.

He won't be distracted by anything else during meal time that I can find. I've even tried Elmo, so help me God! If we're at the table eating, he wan'ts to be there to, which I understand. I just want him not to torment us. I can't even give him water at meals, because he spits it like a water cannon at the other kids (and me!) and the plates of food.

So, any ideas?:
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#2 of 8 Old 11-22-2007, 03:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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a shamless bump!
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#3 of 8 Old 11-22-2007, 03:31 PM
 
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I don't have experience with this but since you shamelessly bumped I'll keep the thread going by suggesting this book. I've heard a lot of good things about it http://www.amazon.com/Just-Take-Bite.../dp/1932565124
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#4 of 8 Old 11-22-2007, 04:16 PM
 
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I am not really sure how GD my advice would be (though I do consider myself quite GD)- we have had few 'mealtime issues' ourselves - but in your situation, these are the things I would do:

Quote:
tonight, for example, it was one piece of flung food after another, one mouth full of chewed up food spat across the table on to DD's plate,
I would simply take the food away. Along with explaining to him that food is for eating. I personally dont mind my ds playing with his food, but your ds behaviour was affecting those around him. I would explain why we need to have respect for others as well and all of that good stuff. But simply, no food - nothing to throw, chew/spit up, etc.

Quote:
and climbing up on the other kids' laps and stealing from their plates (not to eat, but to throw),
I would then remove my child from the table. I am not saying give him a 'time out' - but I would remove him from the situation just like you would remove him from any other situation where he was distirbing others and not showing respect to them. Along with explaining to him why.

Quote:
me trying in vain to distract him while still managing to eat dinner
I personally hate distracting and try never to use it - and so far havnt used it myself (my ds is 26 months). It doesnt deal with the problem at hand - it tries to ignore it. I would deal with the problem at hand is a calm relaxed...GD kinda way! hehe If my son didnt want to eat or just wanted to play with his food thats fine - but throwing food at other and distrupting mealtimes is just well...not nice. Try to explain this to your son verbally and with your actions as my suggestions above maybe. So that way he understands more since I see you are worried about how much he really does understand. Actions speak louder than words they say! - Show him how to eat nicely, show him how to respect others, show him that his behaviour is unacceptable. There are many GD ways to do this - but try not to shame him! I think thats easy to do with other children/siblings around. (not saying you would do that - but just saying to watch your words carefully because sometimes we can do this without thinking!)

Thats really all I can think of! Its going to take awhile to sort it out. As with anything GD tbh...I think alot of people resort to 'mainstream' dicipline (whatever that is - anything other than GD! lol) simply because it 'works faster'... but I dont use GD so I can get my child to behave me faster! lol It something that takes patience and time I feel and all for the better!

Obviously be consistent. If he comes back to the table...I would let him. But the moment he starts to throw food/take from others plates/be dispresctful in any way towards anyone else - remove again and explain again. It seems a natural enough concequence to me....'cant eat your food nicely, dont have it at all'. Or is that just mean? lol

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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#5 of 8 Old 11-22-2007, 05:00 PM
 
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I'm going to go waaaay out on a limb here and suggest that this isn't about food or mealtime at all, but rather about him knowing when he can get this funny (to him) reaction from you & his siblings at this time of day.

My suggestion is to take 10 or 15 minutes before dinner to fill him up with your undivided attention - even better if your other kids will kind of participate. Make sure he gets physical attention too - hugs or tickles or whatever.

For managing the mealtime after that I don't know if your other kids can get on board, but after that I would react as little as possible to whatever he is doing wrong, remove his food quietly, move his hands quietly, and set him on the floor quietly. It really sounds to me like he's getting a charge out of it, and whatever you can do to remove that might go far.

I also wonder if bringing a toddler table and chair into the kitchen and parking it next to the big table and giving him some wildly exciting activity (markers?) would help, just because he's then sitting at a different level, but probably you have tried something like this.

~ Mum to Emily, March 12-16 2004, Noah, born Aug 2005, Liam, born January 2011, and wife to Carl since 1994. ~
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#6 of 8 Old 11-22-2007, 05:07 PM
 
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Thats a great idea and I was about to come back and add something similar to that - and I dont think its going way out on a limb! My suggestion was just to deal with the issue but I was about to come back and suggest:

1). can you invovle him in your cooking? Like above, this gives you two some one on one attention time - and having fun with food as well! Though my son cant do much, he does like to help - or think hes helping hehe - with preparing the meals and he does seem to enjoy this time! Its very hands on as well with eachother.

2). Stress relax here - as above...not really ignore but dont let it get to you. I have found with the few issues we have had...they were 'worse' when it stressed me out the most and got the most reaction from me. Once I stopped stressing and had a carefree attitude about it - they stopped or were not so bad and then easier to 'deal' with.

Mummy me : > Thats Ann! and my beautiful SONS Duncanand Hamish 19/09/05 & 22/04/10!
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#7 of 8 Old 11-22-2007, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh yes - part of it is definitely the pay off he gets from DS1 and DD. I've been working with them on "ignoring" as much as they can - but it doesn't help that DD is in a screaming phase - you know, that high pitched little girl scream that makes your ear drums bleed?
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#8 of 8 Old 11-23-2007, 09:33 PM
 
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Just wanted to add a few thoughts that weren't mentioned yet.

1) My ds is a hit or miss eater too. He is almost 2.5 - some days he does eat well and other days he eats almost nothing. I think that's normal for toddlers so I wouldn't worry about that part.

2) My ds is also mostly nonverbal, although he understands much of what we say to him. Just wanted to reassure you that you were not alone here.

3) My ds often but not always gets wild at the table too. If he throws food, I take it away. If he dumps his drink on purpose, he doesn't get it back (until after dinner anyway). But, he doesn't do this every night. Mostly he is just wild at dinner - will sit and eat a few minutes and then gets down to do stuff.

I can't imagine doing this with 2 other kids and no SO there for support.

Hang in there.

Mama to 8 yo ds and 4 yo dd.treehugger.gifhomeschool.gifjumpers.gifbellyhair.gif
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