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AIBU to leave 1 year old alone while eating?

(63 Posts)
Jojoba1986 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:08:26

DS has recently developed a cheeky side which involves watching us for a reaction while dropping food on the floor. It only seems to be a problem at lunch time. We were tearing our hair out trying to communicate that this isn't behaviour we want. 'No' or 'Stop' at any volume & using any tone of voice produced giggles. He's clearly capable of feeding himself & has a tantrum if we take the food away.

Recently I've been struggling with exhaustion, nausea & dizziness due to pregnancy so took to giving him a sandwich & lying on the sofa in the room next door while he ate it. He eats the whole sandwich with lots of appreciative 'nom'ing & no fuss/mess & calls out when he's finished. It takes all the stress out of the mealtime for everyone.

DH seems to think I shouldn't be leaving him alone but I can't see the problem given that I'm just in the next room & listening to his loud eating & check on him if he goes quiet. DH deals with lunchtimes on the weekends & still has the same problems. Personally I feel that telling him no/stop is currently an ineffective method of discipline as he thinks it's funny but I've discovered that turning my back when he's not behaving appropriately is much more effective as it's the attention he's after.

AIBU to just let him get on with it at lunch times or should I be persisting in trying to get him to stop being silly?

Disclaimer: I realise the above makes me sound like a strict disciplinarian but I'm really not! I know he's only one but we feel it's important for him to have boundaries that he can learn to understand. This is the only issue we have any need to try to correct at the moment, other than some deliberate kicking during nappy changes! He's the perfect child in all other respects! grin

Sirzy Tue 13-Nov-12 16:11:01

Does he eat with you at other meals? Personally I think it's important that children get the "family eating" time and that is how they learn how to eat nicely.

Have you tried eating with him but ignoring any food throwing?

Beanbagz Tue 13-Nov-12 16:11:23

Personally i wouldn't leave a child of that age to eat by themselves. What happens if he chokes on his lunch? He might not make enough noise to alert you?

Is there anywhere that you could sit where you could watch him without him realising?

WhenShallWeThreeKingsMeetAgain Tue 13-Nov-12 16:12:04

Well I wouldn't leave him alone. Instead I would ignore the food dropping, take the food away and then ignore the tantrum. He'll soon learn.

Overreactionoftheweek Tue 13-Nov-12 16:12:22

I'm also ignoring stuff like this from my 1 year old - but I would be a bit nervous about leaving him to eat alone. Maybe I'm being PFB?

Could he eat in a different part of the same room? so you can still ignore him but are close enough just in case he chokes on something.

My dh also doesn't understand that 'no!' is absolutely hilarious to a 1 year old - ds is going through a stage of smacking him in the face and giggling when he's told off. Delightful grin

sittinginthesun Tue 13-Nov-12 16:12:33

I understand the problem, but personally I wouldn't leave him, for two reasons - first, socialising is an important part of learning to eat and enjoy meals; second, my five year old once choked on a cracker, and it was the most terrifying experience of my life. I literally had to turn him upside down to dislodge it, and he was petrified. The thought of him being on his own, and me leaving him like that for even ten seconds just makes me feel cold.

Sit with him, but ignore bad behaviour.

CrapBag Tue 13-Nov-12 16:13:24

I wouldn't leave a child of this age eating alone. Choking is slient, you wouldn't know despite being in the next room.

WRT the reaction he is trying to get, just literally do not look at him and carry on with whatever you are doing (in the same room though). I know its drives you up the wall, DD has recently taken to chucking her food on the floor. I give it back once, then if she carries on I take it, throw it away and get her out of the chair. She has learnt pretty quickly! I figure if they are messing around with it that much then she clearly isn't that hungry.

You don't sound like a strict disciplinarian but children do need boundaries and its never too early to start teaching them that some things are unacceptable. I do agree that telling them all the time is ineffective. They are still getting attention for it, remove the attention and they stop.

ceeveebee Tue 13-Nov-12 16:14:24

I wouldn't leave a 1 year old. Can you now just eat your sandwich at the same table and just ignore him if he starts mesing around?

MolotovBomb Tue 13-Nov-12 16:14:33

To be honest, I think it's fine. I'd be more inclined p think you were unreasonable if the baby was under 1yo and/or the food was something he'd have difficulty with if he accidentally swallowe too much.

Ideally, I suppose you'd watch him. But at the moment, it having the audience that makes him perform. You can hear him should he get into a fix, so it's okay under the circumstances.

And let's face it: when the new baby comes your DS will have to wait and probably wait alone in the hous whilst you tend to your new DC!

NevilleBarnes Tue 13-Nov-12 16:15:35

I wouldn't leave him alone. My 4 year old choked on his dinner. He stopped breathing and turned blue. Luckily DH was home and between us we called an ambulance and finally dislodged the food. All of this was silent on DS's part, it was horrendous. You don't hear them choke.

Could you be in the same room tidying up/making a cup of tea etc whilst keeping a sly eye on him?

N0tinmylife Tue 13-Nov-12 16:16:13

I wouldn't be comfortable with it. You couldn't be certain you would notice if he choked from the other room. It also seems rather sad for a 1 year old to have to be isolated to eat. I would keep ignoring the behaviour you don't want, but stay in the room with him if you can.

MolotovBomb Tue 13-Nov-12 16:16:41

I didn't realise about choking being silent. I'd imagined it would be a noisy affair. There's better advice from me upthread! Hold fast against the tantrums instead.

DoubleYew Tue 13-Nov-12 16:17:19

Ignore the dropping food, put a plastic tablecloth or newspaper under the high chair and act in a very uninterested manner if he does it. He is not being naughty, he is learning about gravity and cause and effect.

Ds was doing it much less by 15 mo and stopped by 18 mo. I would go the other end of the room but not leave them on their own at that age. What if he decides to climb out of the highchair?

Jojoba1986 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:18:17

Yes, he eats with us at other times with no problems!

As I said, he's a noisy eater so I go check if the noise stops!

We did try ignoring it to begin with but that just resulted in all food being thrown on the floor repeatedly & him getting increasingly frustrated.

He's always been an independent child so I'm wondering if it's just an extension of that - as a newborn he would cry until put down rather than falling asleep in our arms like a 'normal' baby! confused I think he just likes to be alone! Weird child! wink

sittinginthesun Tue 13-Nov-12 16:19:29

Choking is completely silent. DS was trying to scream, but couldn't make a sound. I still have nightmares about it.sad

yousankmybattleship Tue 13-Nov-12 16:19:58

I wouldn't leave him. It is not safe and it is also not teaching him anything. He has to learn to eat in company and has to learn what is and isn't acceptable. I'd try and eat at the same time, ignore any food throwing as much as you can but not offer anything else to eat if he throws his lunch on the floor. Maybe keep some nice puddings/treats up your sleeve (not literally) for when he eats nicely.

YouOldSlag Tue 13-Nov-12 16:22:30

No, one year old is too young to be left alone when eating especially as they are eating harder food by then which is more easy to choke on.

Just keep ignoring bad behaviour, don't even remark on it, and eat your lunch next to him so he can follow your lead.

HansieMom Tue 13-Nov-12 16:22:40

It is not bad what you are doing but it sounds lonesome for your baby. I would read paper at table. If he dropped food, I would say okay, throw food away, and get him down. He will cry.

I say this as a grandma. My youngest son used to drop food and watch me pick it up, kind of a cause and effect thing. I saw it as part of learning. He was not being feisty and naughty.

I am not sure what good this advice is!

flow4 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:22:57

I don't think I would leave him, because choking is silent: if they're making a noise, there is still air getting through; but when the air stops, so does the noise sad

I reckon it might work well if you find another way of withdrawing your attention if/when he is silly... Maybe sit with him, eat with him - but if he messes about, literally turn your back on him and ignore him for half a minute smile

pinkpaperpiggy Tue 13-Nov-12 16:24:28

Choking is silent. I wouldn't leave him alone to eat at this age.

PurpleRayne Tue 13-Nov-12 16:26:36

Your baby could choke and you wouldn't know.

FutTheShuckUp Tue 13-Nov-12 16:26:43

Yes YWBVU. Don't be lazy and risk your child's safety it's just not worth it

dizzy77 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:28:41

DS did the food dropping thing for what seemed like ages, just to get a rise. I tried to be very boring, read the paper etc if I'd finished my own meal, and after about 4 months he stopped doing it. I stay in the room now if I'm not eating - pottering about the kitchen etc there is usually plenty to do. That, and feeding him mostly (nutritious) leftovers or a bit of what i'm having, has taken the "charge" out of meals.

Someone up thread said they're learning about gravity when they do this - they're also learning cause and effect, ie if I do this, mummy does that. Much more of this to come I think!

CrapBag Tue 13-Nov-12 16:29:26

"As I said, he's a noisy eater so I go check if the noise stops"

Yes I did read this in your OP. I and everyone else has also said don't leave him. Are you going to listen?

Jojoba1986 Tue 13-Nov-12 16:29:53

Wow, lots of rapid responses! Thanks for the advice. FWIW, I have training in childcare & paediatric first aid so am familiar with theories of development/discipline & would know what to do should anything happen. I wouldn't leave him with anything more risky than a sandwich but he shreds it into crumbs so tiny that I'm sometimes surprised he can pick them up! It's highly unlikely that he'll choke eating one crumb at a time!

DoubleYew I love the idea of looking at it as a scientific gravity experiment! grin (Doesn't make it much easier to deal with when you've had it every day for 2 weeks & are paranoid that he used to have off-the-centiles low weight!) blush

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