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Evenings are hell. Help

(110 Posts)
cjt110 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:19:12

-not AIBU but posting here for traffic so please be kind-

DS is 2.5y old. He's very strong minded and independent. He usually goes to bed at 7pm and we eat tea at around 6pm. If he sits at the table and eats with us, I never get through a meal without stopping to help him or encourage him, or spoon feed him. He loses interest very quickly and will want to leave then table. We encourage him to eat more, one more spoon etc and end up saying to him if he doesnt eat anymore it must be bedtime. He will get upset when we tell him to go to bed insisting it is teatime. We say OK fine, lets eat tea, then the cycle starts again. He eats plenty. The day before last he had 2 slices of toast for breakfast, 2 small pears as a snack, 2 boiled eggs at lunch followed by 2 bananas. A biscuit mid afternoon then we served goulash and mash for tea. He ate 3/4s of it. I must admit, I'm less strict - if he's eaten some/most of it, I would be happy to give him a pudding and make no fuss of it but worry this is showing him if he doesnt eat i all, he still gets something nice afterwards. DH is focussing on what the HV said to do which is if we know he eats something, then not to give in to cries of toast or yoghurt.

I was brought up that at least if I had tried something and didnt like it, that was OK but I must try something. DH was basically made to eat whatever was put in front of him. Perhaps thats the reason for our approaches differing?

Last night we all ended up cross and upset over the whole thing and it's becoming a daily occurrence.

Is there anyone able to offer advice on what to do/try? I would be very grateful. Thank you. flowers

Tobuyornot99 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:23:30

Maybe he's not massively hungry by 18.00, give him a smaller portion. Must he have pudding every night? I'm always a bit spruced that people have pudding every day, maybe I'm a bit unusual in that we have it once a week here.
I think that making bed time a "threat" probably isn't helping.
Might he have a nursery tea at 5ish, a bit if a play, pyjamas, teeth, story, bed, so he knows what the routine is a bit more?

londonrach Fri 17-Mar-17 10:24:03

Hv are now advising not to make one food worth more than another so no eat one more and ill let you have a biscuit. Easier said than done. Cant help you as my dd is 7 months (recent weaning free nhs course). Having seen my sister struggle to get her dc to eat im not sure of the answer and not looking forward to it. Not helpful but evenings can be hell. Xxx

carefreeeee Fri 17-Mar-17 10:24:39

Force feeding is wrong. He definitely shouldn't be punished for not finishing his food by sending him to bed! Let him eat what he wants. Offer healthy food that he normally eats and tell him there'll be nothing till the next meal if he doesn't eat it. Pudding shouldn't be dependent on eating the main course. Just don't offer pudding at all or give a very small amount. If he generally eats plenty at other times then you don't need to worry.

Orangebird69 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:26:25

I think 6pm might be a bit late for your ds to eat dinner. Could you bring it forward at all?

Cheby Fri 17-Mar-17 10:29:06

He's 2. He sits at the table with you and eats goulash. I'd probably chill the fuck out for a bit. Honestly, it sounds completely normal.
I definitely wouldn't be trying to force him to eat certain things or even push him to have one more spoonful. And I wouldn't be using the threat of bedtime as a punishment/bribe to make him eat more.

Wishiwasmoiradingle2017 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:29:57

By 6 pm my ds 2.6 is too tired to eat.
Try a 5 pm tea for a week and see if any difference.

WowserBowser Fri 17-Mar-17 10:30:25

Can you not feed him earlier? 6pm seems late for a little one.

cjt110 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:31:10

Tobuyornot99 and Orangebird69 I did wonder about this. DH gets home with DS at around 4.30. I thought of portioning up some of our tea and he having it the following night at around 5pm.

His pudding is usually yoghurt. He has CMPA so needs to get his calcium from somewhere so soya yoghurt which is enriched is our choice.

londonrach Thats interesting. I wonder if I could find anything online?

carefreeeee He generally has good balanced meals with fruit in between and the odd snack such as crisps. I guess by teatime he might just want something light like a supper instead? Might we be best serving him a main meal at lunchtime and a lunch type meal at teatime?

CoraPirbright Fri 17-Mar-17 10:31:44

Oh dear poor you - that sounds really stressful! FWIW, I think your approach (you must try it and see if you like it) is far far better than your dh' (clear your plate).

I am very routine driven - just makes me feel more comfortable. So I would get a big bit of paper and mark out the times for everything. It might go something like: 5.30 - 6 play wth lego/watch In the Night Garden or whatever, 6-6.30 supper. 6.30 - 7 bath time, 7-7.15 story, 7.15 lights out. If he mithers you, "you cant argue with the time table!!". Make bath time appealing with toys, foam letters etc so it will be more of an inducement to move on from the supper-battle.

Re: the food, if he is refusing, I think to offer a banana or favourite yoghurt in place is ok. You just need to relax and take the heat out of that situation as tackling it now doesn't seem to be working.

Good luck!

cjt110 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:32:43

Cheby I am chilled about it. Obviously if he's eaten nothing but dust all day I'd encourage him to eat but if he doesnt, he doesnt. I just dont know what is bordering encouraging him with being mean

cjt110 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:34:31

CoraPirbright There is very little he doesnt/wont eat so in my view, if he doesnt eat it, he mustnt want it for whatever reason. This morning by 9.10 he had had 3 full pieces of toast with DH at home. I did say to DH in reply that if he eats well during the day, Im happy for him to not finish meals at teatime, as long as he tries them

IamFriedSpam Fri 17-Mar-17 10:35:16

I wouldn't encourage him to eat more than he feels like just to get pudding. I'd go for a smaller portion and like the health visitor says if it's something you know he'll eat don't give in to demands of toast/biscuits.

It's normal that it takes them a few times before they'll try new food. I think it's better to take the pressure off, if he has a small amount on his plate and sees you guys eating it chances are he'll eventually try it. I wouldn't make it a battle ground. Serve him a small dinner with at least something you know he likes then leave him to it, if he's still hungry he can have more if he doesn't touch much he might not be that hungry.

Pacha11 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:35:19

Yes - take the pudding off the menu and don't nag him to eat. He doesn't have to eat every time all his food, you know. Sometimes people will eat a little, sometimes lots more. No need to make a problem of it at all.

Bluntness100 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:36:39

I also think teaching a child to clear their plate is wrong, it leads to over eating in later life and food issues. Let him eat his fill. Three quarters of it is a good amount and he seems to be eating a healthy balanced diet.

Mummabearof2 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:37:16

Does he have to finish everything on his plate? As long as my two have shown willing, eaten nicely (i.e. without a massive battle!) and have given it a good go they still get pudding although granted, that may be a smaller pudding if they've got a smaller appetite that day. I find every day is different with mine and one day they will eat everything in sight and the next they will eat small amounts. There is no right or wrong answer though, you need to figure out what works for you. Is the HV worried about his eating at all?

Also, mine occasionally want help eating too. It depends on what they've been doing in the day but if they are tired they often don't have the energy to eat by themselves. We eat together at 6pm too with bed at 7pm.

CotswoldStrife Fri 17-Mar-17 10:38:10

He is very young and that is very late to be eating, IMO. Try his tea earlier and a snack when you are eating your own tea/dinner.

The way you are currently dining seems to be full of threats - if you stop eating it is bedtime (either it's bedtime or teatime, why does a spoonful of food make a difference here?), no yoghurt unless you eat more of your goulash - it is becoming a bit of a battle and it doesn't need to be.

I would expect a child of that age not to want to sit still for ages, I think it's a bit unrealistic to expect an uninterrupted dining experience!

These situations have a way of gradually creeping up on you though, and it's nothing that wouldn't be easy to sort out - sometimes it's just getting a break for a bit of thinking time!

If he is eating that late because you want to eat together, I think giving him a supper snack of toast or cereal would be better.

MrsELM21 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:39:14

Just relax, this doesn't need to be something to get stressed and bothered about, he's 2.5 - in my experience I find that they rarely conform to what you'd like them to be doing. Perhaps bring dinner forward a bit, let him eat what he wants to, and if he doesn't no big deal.

Always remember, 'it's just a phase, it will pass' that mantra has certainly got me through the last 6 years!

isittheholidaysyet Fri 17-Mar-17 10:39:22

Firstly, relax.

Secondly, you and DH need to get on the same page. Sit down and talk it out and have a plan you are both prepared to try. There are various ways to play it.
1. Child must eat everything on plate
2. Child must taste everything on plate
3. Child eats until no longer hungry, then dinner is over and they can go.
4. Child eats till no longer hungry, but if they want more to eat later the dinner plates comes back out.
5. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Also think about pudding, is this a treat (eg. For eating everything or for trying everything, or is a part of the meal and not dependant on eating savoury)

If using 1. only put a small amount on plate, slightly less than you want him to eat and make sure that there are seconds available. Watch how many, how recently he has had snacks/drinks, it makes a difference.

Thirdly, could he have a bit of free time between dinner and bed, so that he knows he can take his time over food because he can play afterwards?

Fourthly, do you have any family/ friends with (older) kids., that you can share a meal with now and again. It's amazing what a difference it can make to a little one if they are sitting round the table and doing what the big kids are doing.

Fifthly, he will want to eat and run. Do not expect him to stay at table as long as you and DH want to. Also at that age he will need help. My youngest are 7and 6 years old now and we still have to cut food, encourage them to 'just eat half of it then you can go', 'try it, you'll never like it if you don't keep trying', pour drinks, clear up spilt drinks, remove potatoes from their jackets, put butter on etc etc.

cjt110 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:39:29

IamFriedSpam Yes - the night before last he had 3/4s of his tea then was shouting for toast. If he's hungry enough to want toast, he should finish his tea?

Pacha11 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:39:32

About the calcium - give him plain yogurt or cheese, or other non-sweet foods containing calcium. Why does it have to be a sweet yogurt?

Glittermakeseverythingbetter Fri 17-Mar-17 10:40:20

Why is he eating two of everything?
My 8 and 12 year old only eat one slice of toast for breakfast and one egg for lunch.
He's probably full up by the evening.
I'm not sure how much other 2 year old's eat but could he be having too much?

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 17-Mar-17 10:41:28

What's hell about the evenings? All sounds very normal to me. And he goes to bed at 7pm so it's just the usual toddler drama at mealtimes that is the problem?

ShowMePotatoSalad Fri 17-Mar-17 10:42:33

CjT if he's shouting for toast, just say "no, I'm not making you toast. Here is your dinner", and then if he doesn't eat it, he doesn't eat it. There is no problem in that.

cjt110 Fri 17-Mar-17 10:45:13

Mummabearof2 No concerns at all about his eating

it is becoming a bit of a battle and it doesn't need to be. I know sad

CotswoldStrife Yes I had thought of him having tea at around 430 and then supper/pudding when we have our tea at 6.

isittheholidaysyet Thanks for your advice. I must say, I do think my portion sizes must be a bit big... He has a small/childsize character plate and this will often be almost full. Perhaps I need to shrink te portion too?

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