DSD age 4 dinner issues, please help!(19 Posts)
DSD has dinner at 3 different houses at 3 different times with 3 different diets and I don't know what to!!
She has breakfast, lunch and dinner at the CM 4 days a week and that is with 4 other children. CM says she eats fine most of the time and gives DP and his EXW a monthly meal plan for dinners. Its all basic stuff, pasta, shepards pie, cauliflower cheese, make your own pizza ect.
We have her 2 days in the week (but she doesn't eat here at all then because of CM) and eow when she does eat here. I work saturdays so don't eat with her but we all eat together at the table on a sunday. We are veggies so DSD doesn't have meat when with us (although she very rearly has it CM either). Both dinner times here are a nightmare, she just plays with her food, everything is yucky and all she wants is pudding. We make the same things that the CM makes! We can't cope with it anymore and dinners are getting stressful.
DSD eats with her mum 1 day a week and eow, due to the size of her house they don't have a table so eat on the sofa in front of the tv or at the local super market. DSD will eat with her mum but only really jackets or pasta.
I'm convinced its the broken dinner eating pattern that is making it worse but how could we change this? DP knows he needs to be more patient as well (and I don't get involved)
Anyone else have similar problems? Or any advice?
Ps sorry its long and badly spelt! Many thanks
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I don't get involved and carry on with my dinner. DP tells DSD to stop playing and eat. He usually asks her to eat x amount more and then she could have pudding. He does sometimes feed her himself with his fork if she hasn't eaten anything.
I don't have any DC's I have no idea how to help or be useful, I just go quiet and look away.
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I agree with NatashaBee. To be fair though, I don't think it's necessarily an issue with different mealtimes. My DDs are 5y8m and 3y8m and both a complete nightmare to feed. DD1 just won't try anything at all, DD2 won't eat anything unless it's breakfast cereal or biscuits, it's only within the last few months that we've been able to get her to eat bread.
This is a totally normal process for this age range, it could be that she's trying to assert her autonomy, it could be that she has eaten enough at the previous meal, it could even be that she's a bit constipated. Loads of reasons.
In our house, I don't object if they don't finish dinner but they have to at least try the food. Generally speaking mine don't really whinge about being hungry later on, I think they both tend to eat lots at lunch. My advice would be to ride it out but don't baby her, at 4y she's perfectly capable of feeding herself. If she wants attention that's fair enough but I'd be concerned about making food something that's bargained.
Good luck! x
Toast or fruit is a good idea thanks! Its a horrible feeling to think she might leave the table hungry so that is a sensible and guilt free idea.
DP said tonight that she is either doing a performance or sleeping, they are her only two settings so if dinner can't be a performance she isn't interested.
I think she eats at the CM because other DC are, she copies them.
I get a little upset after because we are ttc so saving every penny we can and meal planning, I spend my days off cooking their dinners and then it goes in the bin! I have to prepear myself for motherhood a bit more I think!
Remember to a child even negative attention is better than no attention. I'm not for one minute saying she gets none but most kids do like to be the centre of things.
Also kids know how important food is and its a simple route for maximum impact. My DD will say in an argument, 'fine, I'm not eating tea'. I would suggest that you don't engage on the food issue and if she doesn't want to eat, fine. I wouldn't provide alternatives just fruit/yogurt/toast later if she was hungry. I would stop trying so hard with the food too though, she may not be hungry.
We do bread or fruit too if they don't like what's for dinner. I agree with the posters above -fussyness is very normal at 4. And most children eat in at least two settings. Most step children in three. You could try asking her if she has any requests for meals ocasionally or get her involved in help cook. And try and have things to talk about at meal times to distract from whether she's eating much or not.
My DSD did this when she was four, and she did it with anyone she could get away with (not just DH, it was also the grandparents). It was partly a sweet tooth, and partly attention-seeking.
What worked for us was insisting, "There's nothing else," - i.e. no pudding at all tonight, there's none in the house. This was something DSD's mum was doing too, so there was some consistency. What also worked was DH and I leaving her to eat alone at the table, until we could teach ourselves not to focus on DSD's plate anymore. Leaving her at the table made her cry, yes, but she got the message after awhile that we weren't going to focus on her anymore.
Once your DH learns to ignore the picking, he can praise her when she does finish a meal. That will be attention for something positive.
Oh yes, DH and I both had to scale back portion sizes once we expected DSD to finish a meal. We realized we were giving her Mount Everests of macaroni and cheese each night - intimidating for a little belly, and she'd give up on the idea of her tea before even starting.
Thank you so much for all of your replys. Some great ideas here and it nice to read that its totally normal, not having any DC's or knowing any other 4 year olds I just have no idea and DP to be honest is pretty much the same.
We discussed it last night and are going to cut portion sizes, give her half the amount and then she can have more if she wants. We will have pudding if she eats all (or most of her dinner) if not DSD will be allowed toast or furit.
We have normal chatty dinners but the last month they have started getting edgy due to almost expecting DSD to have a problem with dinner. We have her for the next 3 weekends as well this month so here's hoping it might get better! All anyone wants is for DSD to have a happy healthy tummy!
Once again thank you
You sound like a lovely SM. Good luck.
My dsd is 5 and I could have written your post myself OP.
We have her every weekend for 2 or 3 days, there are certain meals she will wolf down, most, however, are a challenge.
I suppose I'm just going to repeat what others have said before, but -
no pudding if she doesn't eat her meal (or at least try a good mouthful of everything on the plate)
no biscuits/chocolate between meals if she hasn't had her meal(exception to this is if she's hungry at bedtime she can have toast/fruit) - she won't starve if she misses a meal, although you/dp may feel guilty!
try taking her out to pick a new plate/cutlery set to encourage her
she must feed herself, don't baby her
good old star charts (bribery!)- a star per meal if she tries everything on her plate
Good luck though, it's not easy. Don't be afraid of getting involved yourself. And don't underestimate how well praising her can work, even if she tries just one mouthful praise her for it
Star charts were my saviour when DSD was 5 for the same reason. It was a trial to begin with but now it was worth it as she eats brilliantly but getting there was a challenge. Stick with it, it's a pain but it does stop so i would do as others have posted. Good luck
More great ideas thank you! We feel worse as dinner is usually the last thing before going to mummys house so after a lovely weekend its like ending on a sour note!
DP had star charts for toilet training and DSD didn't really care but I don't think DP was very commitied. Maybe I could do the star chart,to be frank I do all the cooking and meal planning so maybe I wouldn't be overstepping to do a chart but perhaps not get involved at the dinner table.
We are deffinatly going to downsize her portions.
As always thank you so much, it means a lot to be able to ask other people in similar situations
kitten we always had huge issues with the last meal of the weekend, as she knew she could go home to her mums and say she was hungry & be offered another meal...worth chatting to the ex-p and getting them on board if you can to avoid this?
Don't worry about it. As long as you are offering her a decent meal, don't fret too much about whether she eats it or not. If you're offering pudding, my advice is do it anyway and don't make it conditional on eating her main (I know many people disagree with this!) or keep pudding simple.
My DSD would often hold out on eating at our house when she knew she was going back to her Mums soon, as she knew she'd be able to have access to biscuits, etc and it didn't bother us. Kids living between two homes have enough to deal with already without being given a hard time over every little thing. A few biscuits in an overall healthy diet really doesn't matter.
My DSD is now 17 and whilst still a fairly fussy eater is a healthy slim girl.
Yep I agree, don't worry about it!
My DS is 4y5m and he does exactly the same. Totally disinterested in food unless it's junk.
We've recently introduced a marble system for our 3 (DSD7, DS4 and DD2). They each have a jar with their name on it. When they clear their plate (we make sure their plate is an appropriate size)!, they get a marble in their jar. Once their jar is full of marbles, they get to choose a toy up to the value of £10. It's working well for DSD7 and DS4. Obviously DD2 doesn't really get it but she doesn't like to be left out!
Like some of the posters above, ours don't get 'pudding' unless they clear their plate. If they don't clear their plate and still say they're hungry; it's fruit / toast / cheese.
Just stick to your guns and be consistent.
downsizing portions is a great idea. an average toddler small child needs just three of their handfuls. it can seem surprisingly small!
I agree with Beamur, really try not to make an issue of it.
He does sometimes feed her himself with his fork if she hasn't eaten anything
She probably enjoys that, I would stop doing that TBH.
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