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Thread: Getting my two to eat - my options!!

  1. #1

    Default Getting my two to eat - my options!!

    Like so many many many of us I am currently having a heap of trouble getting my two kids to eat their dinner. DD (3 1/2) just blantantly refuses while DS (14 months) plays with it for a while then promptly throws it all on the floor. There are a few meals which they will both eat and ask for seconds but these are very few and very far between. Now I've always been of the thinking that I will only cook one meal and if you don't eat it then fine you don't eat. Lately the kids have started waking over night and DD is asking for a yoghurt so I'm starting to think it's because she/they are hungry and it's waking them up. So I'm starting to ponder what options I have.
    1. Stick to my guns. You eat what is put in front of you or you don't eat.
    2. Give them what we are having with something I know they will eat on their plate too so at least they are eating something and having to try something.
    3. Give them what I know they'll eat.
    We've tried the reward system. Stickers, dessert and lots of praise. If they aren't eating we ignore their behaviour. We all eat together.
    I'm slowly losing my mind . What option do you think? How do/are you tackling the joyous meal time??

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    South Eastern Suburbs, Vic


    - I feed ours dinner at lunchtime, and then a sandwich at dinner. Works amazingly! I'm boiling eggs for egg sandwiches as I type.
    - Before that I fed ours earlier, around 5pm, and then a snack right before bed. That worked okay, but switching the meals completely works more consistently.

    There are so many advantages to this. At lunch time, the kids aren't tired and grumpy and distracted. I used to be very 'meh' about their dinnertimes, I just wanted them to get to bed, so if they got up and ate in front of the tv, fine, if they didn't finish, fine, if they wanted yoghurt instead, whatever. Now though - I have the motivation to be a bit more disciplined, so dinner is at the table, they can sit there for an hour if they need (and happily), I'm not hovering, waiting for them to finish so I can put them to bed. Plus 'eat and play' is more enticing than 'eat and bed'.

    Anyway, there probably are heaps of options out there, but that's what's worked for us. It's so good, having pj's and toileting and teeth and beds and stories to sort, to know that on a hectic night, a cheese sandwich is just fine. All the best, whatever you end up doing!
    Last edited by Nelle; August 30th, 2010 at 06:33 PM. Reason: I said it would be brief, but it wasn' no point saying it was brief...

  3. #3


    Supper. Porridge just before bedtime works wonders, especially if dinner was untouched! But we do dinner with enough time for porridge before bathtime if that is needed. Porridge isn't a replacement dinner, so I'm not doing two meals.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    What time is dinner? Like Nelle, we've found we have to feed DS early to get him to eat. He just can't manage it once he's tired. And he'll wake up wanting food in the night too if he hasn't eaten properly.
    So we do dinner early and always try to fill up as much as possible during the day - it's bad if I'm out and DH is in charge because he forgets about morning and afternoon tea and does lunch too late! Anyway, dinner is 4:30-5 and we also do supper just before bed to fill up a bit more if need be (just a small snack).

    *sometimes* if dinner is just not going down at all I'll offer a sandwich instead.

    I don't think there are hard and fast rules either, just a matter of figuring out what's going to work.

  5. #5


    My kids eat well all through the day that by dinner time I think they just aren't that hungry so I don't worry about it too much. I give them a small selection of the food we are eating and they pick at it. I figure that our bodies probably weren't designed to eat a lot of food before bed. We also don't do dessert (DH and I never have it unless we are eating out or at a party). I do let them have a milk before they go to sleep though. I wouldn't stress too much about it - if they were hungry, they would eat.

    I like Nelle and LZ's ideas as well. I think either of those things would work really well. I like having a sit down hot meal together at night time though. I am big on table manners so even if my kids refuse to eat, I ask them to wait at the table until everybody has eaten which they do (most of the time). I leave their food in front of them until we clear the table together afterwards. If they are hungry, they tend to eat eventually. I do it that way because sometimes I am a bit worried that they don't eat because they have other things they want to go and do and if they have to sit there anyway, they sometimes eat.

    I don't generally make all my kids eat everything off their plate because I read somewhere that it isn't good for them to get the idea that eating everything put in front of them because they don't listen to their own bodies about when they are full, they judge it by what is left on the plate. I don't know if you do that anyway but thought I would throw it in there just in case it was of interest

    Good luck with your dinner times - I'm sure it's one of those things that gets better as they get older.

  6. #6


    We have tossed around the idea of having dinner at lunch but since being back at work I can't do it three days a week but it might be worth a revisit. We sit down to dinner at 5.30 - 5.45 at the latest. Thanks so much for your suggestions. It's just so difficult because dinner time (on the days I don't work) are the only times we can all sit down together which DH & I love. I'll definitely try to work in some of these suggestions.

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