Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Dinner time troubles

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cairns QLD
    Posts
    5,471

    Default Dinner time troubles

    A little while ago I posted about Evan being a pain to get to eat his dinner,
    well its still an issue. He just refuses to sit and eat with us. I really hate dinner time in our house at the momnet as I am so stressed trying to get him ti sit down and eat his dinner.

    What have others found that worked to get a 3 yr old to eat his dinner?
    Any suggestions would be great.

    At the moment I bassically scream at him lol, He has the choice sit down and eat or go to bed. I do my best to make sure he hasn't had anything to spoil his appitite but makes no difference.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    8,980

    Default

    FionaJill,

    My daughter goes through this often since she was little - she refuses to eat and then other times she can't get enough. Dinnertime is no doubt stressful for you, you can imagine also it would be stressful for him too, as he would probably be thinking, 'mummy is going to shout at me if I am not hungry.'

    Take a deep breathe if you feel yourself in the early stages of getting angry and in your head, repeat the words through your head how you feel and what is happening - you know how you say things to yourself over and over then they start to not sound the same or take off the intensity?

    E.g. "I am angry because Evan doesn't want to eat his dinner. I am angry because Evan doesn't want to eat his dinner ... I am angry because Evan does not want to eat his dinner " and so on. Hopefully this can prevent the anger getting out of control - when you are really angry it's harder to stop.

    If he doesn't want to eat, nicely explain that you'll wrap his dinner up and put it in the fridge, and if he wants to join you for dinner he can.

    They are only this little for so long and they have such fickle appetites sometimes. If it gets worse, of course rule out medical issues but at the end of the day, do you really want to fight with him because you think he should be hungry and eat, when he simply isn't... we don't eat if we aren't hungry - in fact doesn't society tell us that, not to force ourselves to eat if we aren't hungry, in order to have healthy bodies?

    Another thought too, when Marisa has had a quiet day and not burnt much energy up, especially before dinner, she doesn't have as much of an appetite. Perhaps in the afternoons you can take him to the park or do something to help burn some energy and get his body wanting some calories?
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cairns QLD
    Posts
    5,471

    Default

    Thanks Kelly

    I think I will have to try and relax. I do know that he may just not be hungry. But he often says he wants a drink or wants to sit on the couch etc, they all seem to be excusses. MMM I see what your saying about him thinking dinner just means I get angry with him. I am going to try and stay calm about it, if he isn't hungry then fine, it will be there for him later.

    I really hate my self sometime because yes at the end of the day he is 3 and I expect him to act as though he is 30.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    8,980

    Default

    Fiona, we all go through it hon don't blame yourself - we can't be expected to read their minds and know what's going on and it's simple enough for us...

    Sometimes you have to just put yourself in their headspace or have a really good think to yourself to troubleshoot the problem... if something doesn't work the first time, then tell yourself, okay this isn't working, what can I try next time?

    It's probably because I have a background in IT, but I try and see my job as being more of a troubleshooter rather an enforcer - if you can stop the problem to start with, then that may well prevent you getting angry and getting ****ty is our problem not their's - it's how we choose to deal with our own frustration. I think sometimes *unconciously* we give ownership to our behaviour to our kids - e.g. I'm angry because you didn't eat your dinner! etc... if you do get angry, say to him, 'Mummy is angry and I am going to have some time quiety to to calm down.' Only then can you effectively deal with a problem.

    You'll be amazed at how it teaches them to deal with their own anger and frustration.

    Maybe when he says that he would like a drink on the couch, perhaps you can offer to have a drink and sit with him before dinner? Even if he still doesn't want to eat then, it's okay - you are making him feel good about his needs and decisions - he may well just be thirsty. I find the days Marisa doesn't eat much dinner she will wake up and have a big breakfast.

    Good luck!
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Blue Mountains
    Posts
    5,086

    Default

    Can I intrude on this topic As a completely inexperienced mum-to-be I am taking in advice and tips from all kinds of sources! And I just wanted to mention that on one episode of super nanny, she was dealing with a child that refused to sit and eat dinner. She encouraged giving lots of praise. She also said the same thing about the child associating dinner time with fighting and shouting, but if it can be changed to praise, it works wonders. It seemed to work for them! She got them to praise him for sitting on his chair, and praise him for whatever little bit he ate or drank. And he ended up eating an entire meal.

    Anyway... just thought I'd mention it 8-[

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cairns QLD
    Posts
    5,471

    Default

    Thanks, I don't watch super nanny, she irritates me lol.
    But yes I can see how praise would be better, and you know what on days when I'm not at the end of teather I do do that. Can't say it works everytime but I'm going to take a step back and approach this in a more positive way from now on.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Australia
    Posts
    8,980

    Default

    Ivana - yep definitely giving our kids more praise (attention) for doing those good things than we do from negative behaviour makes them more inclined to want to do the good things Often we make such a big deal over them for the negative behaviour that they do it more often, for attention. Kids thrive on one on one attention - they remember it and the special moments we have together - be it sitting on a couch before dinner and having a drink, or for me, I remember playing a game of hide-and-seek after work most nights with my dad. On Thursday nights, he'd always bring home my brother and I a treat. Made us feel very special

    We also have to remember that they just may not be hungry some times - so we don't get frustrated that the attempts at praise or other efforts haven't worked. I used to get grumpy with Marisa for not eating breakfast and then wanting lots of snacks later. So I would simply move her breakfast time to later - I know I don't feel like breakfast the minute I wake up, so by having it at 9am, she actually feels ready to eat, eats lots of it and there's less requests for snacks.
    Kelly xx

    Creator of BellyBelly.com.au, doula, writer and mother of three amazing children
    Author of Want To Be A Doula? Everything You Need To Know
    Follow me in 2015 as I go Around The World + Kids!
    Forever grateful to my incredible Mod Team and many wonderful members who have been so supportive since 2003.

  8. #8
    angelfish Guest

    Default

    George will eat unlimited quantities and often eats more than I do, our only problem is what he eats! If you're talking about not wanting to eat at all, I can only suggest two things. First, make sure he's not got any medical problem (if you're at all concerned, get him checked out). Second, just offer him a variety of food and don't worry whether he eats it or not (or at least, don't let him see you're worried!). Remember it would take AT LEAST 6 WEEKS OF NO FOOD before he starves! If Evan eats NOTHING for a day, or even a whole week, it won't do any damage (providing he drinks water or milk).

    Hmmm, easy to say, hard to do... On second thoughts, maybe you should ignore my advice since I can't seem to stop stressing about George's eating...

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    31

    Default

    We go through similar things here! I have realised now they my girls just aren't hungry at dinner time. They'd prefer to eat all day, then skip dinner. That's fine by me.. they wont starve themselves

  10. #10
    Melinda Guest

    Default

    I too find myself getting quite stressed if Jacob doesn't want to eat. I get worried that he's not had enough to eat, that it will affect his sleep and that he's not eaten enough to meet basic nutritional requirements! I find myself getting seriously obsessed by it truth be told. It's funny, as some days he will seem to eat quite a bit, and other days, hardly anything at all. Since he started solids, he really hasn't ever been that enthusiastic about food......not like some other littlies I've seen! Quite often I think if I didn't offer him food, he wouldn't even notice!!!

    I have to really tell myself that if he's not hungry, he's simply not hungry and I can't force him to eat as that will only turn meal times into an unpleasant time for all of us and I don't want to create any problems like that.......so I try to be all 'fun' when he does actually eat so that he can see how enjoyable it is IYKWIM? I've also found that offering him something for morning and afternoon tea is the way to go - he seems to be more of a grazer and won't eat a lot in one sitting (most of the time). Sometimes however he passes up morning or afternoon tea and I just have to go with that........

    One thing I found very useful was to start a food diary. This is probably demonstrating my obsessiveness about the food issue and how worried I get about it, but I find that it helps me to keep track of what he's eating so that over the course of a week, I can see how things even out IYKWIM? It also helps me pick up any patterns about times when he seems to be hungrier than others and how that correlates with his sleep and physical activity.

    It's also a good reference point if there's a illness or something like that. We haven't had to use it for that, but it had crossed my mind that if Jacob were to fall ill for some reason, e.g. developed an allergy to something or become very ill, that it may help with pinpointing the reason for the illness or to demonstrate his disinterest in food. If Jacob were to have precious little to eat for two days running, I would be really concerned and would whisk him off to the Doctors for a good check-up I think. It always pays to be careful in that regard as toddlers don't have the ability to sustain themselves for as long as what we do, or to convey what it is that is bothering them, e.g. they have a stomach ache, so they don't want to eat, or feel unwell in some other way......

    Sorry to have gone on FionaJill, but I just thought I'd share my thoughts with you!

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Forestville NSW
    Posts
    8,944

    Default

    We too keep a food diary for my own sanity sake LOL!!! Matilda has refused to eat heaps of dinner's and I get so upset after spending time to make her a "special dinner" to have it rejected or when we have the same dinner & it is still rejected it is so frustrating & stressfull.

    I guess one thing I have done is that if dinner is an unknown to her I offer her a bit of dinner & if she is enthusiastic I continue, if not I try to offer her a bit of something I know she will eat (ex alphabete bologneise LOL!) and then I feel good because she has eaten something, and I know to try a few times before I give up, but at least I have tried.

    Good luck with your feeding journey!

  12. #12

    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Cairns QLD
    Posts
    5,471

    Default

    Do you know what I am actually finding to be working. If he doesn't want to eat dinner then I just say ok, well you go sit on the couch and let me know when you want it and I'll heat it up for you. I can say that on each occassion he hasn't wanted to sit and eat he asked for it an hour or so later.

    He is a thin kid to start with I think I would be in the same way of thinking that after a day or 2 of refusing all food I would be off to teh dr even if he seemed happy enough, he would just waste away!

    I think I would forget to keep a diary of what I gave him to eat. But I also have found that morning and afternoon tea just like at preschool is also working too. Its funny how alot of kids this age seem to be grazers.

  13. #13

    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Location
    Ubiquity
    Posts
    9,922

    Default

    Does he take any multi's? I found when Paris started not eating and only got worse we started giving her multi's to help out with the nutrients she wasn't getting. Well to our suprise it actually helped her regain her appetite. Sure she wasn't eating EVERYTHING in sight, but she was eating more than before. We have always had problems with Dinner time, she's never been a big eater at dinner, in fact most kids I know are exactly the same. And in reality this is a good thing as they say that we are supposed to eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch and a pauper for dinner. I have a gf who's son refuses to eat anything for dinner other than a sandwhich. All kids go through this. One of my other gf's daughter doesn't eat lunch. I think its more important to listen to our kids and guide them as much as we can but try not to stress over it iykwim? If he's eating thorugh out the day he'll be fine. I too have a skinny child and she's fine. And you are spot on with the grazing, children's motabolism's are the kind we all wish we had, you know the 6 small meals a day (or snacks). It works for them so that they can use as much energy as they do and not completely crash like you or I would. The older he gets the more interested in food he'll become. And even if he doesn't eat his dinner make dinnertime positive by allowing him to stay at the table and talk to mum and dad about his day and vice versa, that way there is less focus on food iykwim? Another suggestion is to organise his food/snacks the day before. I used to do this with Paris when I was concerned about what she was and wasn't eating. By this I mean get a lunch box and fill it with a lot of small meals. A bag of grapes, some cheese, a yoghurt, some dried fruit, some ham, some tomatoes, some crackers etc etc and then maybe some sweet biscuits or a fruit bar or a museli bar? This way you have your dairy, your fruit & veg etc and if they are all in little bags/glad wrapped portions he'll find it exciting and he also gets to pick what he wants to eat. We have a rule in this house that if Paris doesn't eat her dinner or lunch or breakfast (when she normally would) then she's only allowed fruit till the next meal time. If she eats all or most of (I think you can be the one to judge as I don't always make paris eat all her mains for the motabolism reason) her meals then she is allowed 2 snacks from her snack box before I start to say "how about some yoghurt/fruit" etc. But also children do need to eat at specific times, have you thought of playing around with the time you sit down to eat dinner? I find if we have dinner between 5-6 Paris eats less but if its between 6-7 she eats more. Whereas I know other children who if they don't get dinner between 5-6 they are so hungry they aren't interested in dinner after that point.

    And even though we have a snack box, and paris is allowed to help herself. She always has to ask first and does so. Even at 8:00 am when she's starving and I'm dead tired as I got no sleep the night before she'll come in and ask what she can have and usually its "Have a yoghurt" and then when I get up I'll give her toast or cereal.

    I have always had stresses with Paris' weight and food intake so if you ever need an ear I'm always here!

    *hugs*
    Cailin

  14. #14

    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    In Bankworld with Barbara
    Posts
    14,222

    Default

    *BUMP*

    We have been lucky that there has never really been big issues about eating, but we have struggled more with inappropriate food choices at different parts of the day. Not so much with Lindsay, but with the girls. Trying to explain to a 3.5 yr old and a 2yr old why they can't have a packet of chips at 8am is hard sometimes. I used to have the snack box with all the little packets of chips, shapes etc in the pantry cupboard, but their access to it was too free and quite often they would help themselves and I wouldn't know about it. So now that is in our bedroom where the kids have to ask to have it and it is easier to tell them no, plus out of sight is out of mind, so we aren't going through as much of this stuff as before. Also, the better food choices are now easy accessible in the pantry for them to get it.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •