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Meal time nightmare!

6 messages
04/03/2010 at 20:20


My daughter is 17 1/2 months old and recently mealtimes have turned into a bit of a battle.  We eat at the table together and untill recently she has been very good but over the past few weeks she has started shouting, throwing food, upending her plate and refusing to eat, taking food off my plate and throwing it etc.  I realise this is probably a 'toddler phase' as she does seem to be having a bit of a 'terrible two' phase with quite a few things at the moment! 

I just wanted some other mums ideas of what they have done to solve this.  Today when she yelled no and threw a whole bowl of spagetti bolognese (which she normally loves) on the floor my husband just got her down from the table and told her if she did that she would not get anything else.  this didn't really seem to bother her!  I had been trying to get her to eat anything just so she didn't go to bed hungry but I realise this is probably the wrong thing to do as it will reinforce that if she creates she can get something else but I worry that as she is not even 18 months old yet that it is a bit young to do the 'you eat this or you get nothing' thing even though my gut instinct is telling me this is the right thing to do.  I don't want mealtimes to become a battle (I had an eating disorder as a youngster and although I have been totally recovered for years I can remember getting very stressed by mealtimes and don't want my daughter to feel that) and I don't want to need supernanny in a few years time, lol!

What do others think?

Thanks,  Gem and Freya xxx

07/03/2010 at 17:33


There must be someone out there with a terrible eater, help!  Over the past two days this has escalated into a refusal to eat anything, she either throws it all on the floor or spits it out and spends the whole of mealtime asking to get down.  I am at the end of my tether now and really don't know what to do.

24/03/2010 at 11:56

hi i feel for u and had the same kind of problem with my son. when he was about the same age, i also felt the same about not wanting him to go to bed hungry, partly coz i didnt want to be waking up in the night lol i tried many things but the letting them go without thing kinda worked,

 i made meal time earlier if he refused to eat it then he went without but i still made him sit at the table while we ate our meals, sometimes he would give up and join in sometimes he would have full on tantrums but i wouldnt give up telling him meal time was now. later if he was hungry id put him back at the table give him the same meal he earlier refused (he then knew it was that or nothing) normally he would eat it, if he didnt then he really would go without a meal,

i will admit i made sure he had a milk b4 bed so there was something in him that might or might not have been a good idea but it did work for my son. after a while of seeing he wouldnt get his own way at meal time he soon started eating with us he was 2 last month and eats at every meal time as planned, he can be a bit fussy with what he eats tho but at least meal times are easier and slowly im adding more foods as i find what he will eat.

its all trial and error i think, i no how tough it is. good luck with however u manage it

sarah xxx

29/10/2010 at 19:13

Hi there,I know this thread is from a while ago but this is the exact same problem I am having with my son,who is 20 months.

He will eat his breakfast and lunch no problem but every evening it's a real battle to get him to eat a proper cooked meal. I've tried a wide variety of solid foods but he just throws a tantrum and say's "i no like",without even trying most things. I don't want to over fuss about it with him but the longer this goes on,the more I drear dinner time. so much so my other half has started commenting that we should have our xmas dinner once our son is tucked up in bed,but that's not happening as Xmas dinner is for the whole family and I want us all to be there. I can see why he would rather wait but if i just had some ideas of how to make meal times more pleasant for us all it may help. Hope someone out there can give some advice. Thanks Susan xx

29/10/2010 at 20:27
Hi there, if it is any help at all my daughter did grow out of it and now 9 times out of 10 eats really well with us at the table at meal times.  In the end she realised that she ate what she got nicely or she got down and didn't get anything else.  They won't starve themselves!  I know it seems really hard and when I read my post back I'd forgotten I got so stressed about it.  I know it is hard but just try to be consistent and he will grow out of it in the end.  I know that isn't the 'solution' you are probably looking for!
29/10/2010 at 21:28

Hi Susan - Gem - glad to hear that freya eventually grew out of it.  Susan - we have a large family and a few of mine have had the "im not going to eat it no matter what you do" senario too!  You really have just got to be strong, altho at times it really wore me down when you have spent time and effort trying to do a lovely meal only to litterally have it thrown back at you

I find the best thing to do now is for the kids to have their dinner altogether at the table, no tv on or anything and they get about 50 mins to finish, they always have a pudding or a treat if they finish their dinners and they usually have a tumbler of water with it.  However, if they start messing about, being silly or just not eating then the time limit stands and i do a "count down" if the food on the plate is considerable after their time is up, then its put for breakfast the next day!! - THIS WORKS!!!! LOL trust me, it doesnt happen very often but when it does, they REALLY remember for the next time!!! my gang is 7,5,4,2 and 1 and im currently expecint another baby in 9 weeks time! I did the same with the two older boys who are now 21 and 19, it does them no harm at all and you get to keep your sanity, we also dont eat with them, prefering to eat when they are tucked up in bed and we can relax and enjoy our food, its a pain in the ass otherwise, but xmas time we do all eat our dinner together.  When they are older then we will all eat together again.

Hopefully its given you a few ideas that you can put into place now too and i wish you all the patience and luck there is!! LOL

Take care, and  THEY DO OUTGROWN IT!!!! LOL - keep smiling. xxxxx 

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