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Would you send a 22 month old to bed without dinner?

(41 Posts)
tinypop4 Thu 18-May-17 17:42:27

More of a question than an aibu but...
Ds 22 months is refusing dinner. He always does this and I always sit it out and pretend I don't care and usuallly he eats some of it in the end.
Tonight we are having rice and meatballs. He had had it before and liked it. He won't eat it and we started over half an hour ago. I'm not holding him at the table btw when dd finished I let him down.
Would you
A) leave the food out and if he is hungry he will eat it. If he doesn't eat it put him to bed without dinner (he's eaten well rest if the day)
B) give him something you know he will eat at about 6.30.
If he was older I'd do A without hesitation but I'm faltering at his age.

BlueSunGreenMoon Thu 18-May-17 17:43:51

I'd give him some toast or something later.

Nanny0gg Thu 18-May-17 17:45:26

B) Just because he liked it before doesn't mean he wants it now. Babies and toddlers are contrary.

And no, never hungry to bed. You stand a good chance of being woken up at 1pm with that one.

Etymology23 Thu 18-May-17 17:48:38

I used to refuse food that I "had liked". My grandparents attempted to get me to eat it by offering nothing else. 4 days later and I had still eaten nothing. It's not recommended by great ormond street. Plus as a pp said, you're just liable to be woken in the night.

Notso Thu 18-May-17 17:57:17

I've always done the same thing, given dinner and any pudding I was planning and then milk before bed.
Sometimes they ate all of it, sometimes just pudding and milk, sometimes just milk.
Never had any issues with waking up at night hungry.

ItsNiceItsDifferentItsUnusual Thu 18-May-17 18:00:18

I give boring buttered toast before bed if they've refused dinner. Might do option A for an older child, but not 22 months.

DailyMailReadersAreThick Thu 18-May-17 18:03:54

I remember my mum doing this when I was a kid, although not as young as 22mo. She left the meal on the table and told me I wouldn't get anything else to eat until I'd eaten that.

I didn't eat it, she gave in. What was I supposed to learn from that?

So my vote is give him something to eat.

alltouchedout Thu 18-May-17 18:06:01

I'd give him something else. I've always thought option A type stuff was daft. What's the big deal? Surely sometimes you don't fancy eating what others in the house fancy eating?

Witchend Thu 18-May-17 18:07:10


I had a non eater and if she'd known she would get food she liked better at 6:30 would have held off. Until she decided that if she held off at 6:30 she might get something better.

Leave it out and they'll probably come and eat it when they're not under pressure to do so.

WankingMonkey Thu 18-May-17 18:08:25

When my little ones won't eat dinner I always offer toast before bed. Sometimes fruit. Maybe this encourages them to refuse dinner (as Dh says sad ) but I can't stand the thought of sending young kids to bed hungry. They are 4 and 2.

Dearohdeer Thu 18-May-17 18:08:27

I've done this countless times. It's not a punishment. It's just if he doesn't want it then no big deal, he won't starve by breakfast. I always dish up a variety of foods.

AgentOprah Thu 18-May-17 18:09:09

I'd give milk and a banana before bed, but far enough away from dinner time that its not an alternative to dinner.

Bluntness100 Thu 18-May-17 18:14:31

Don't send him to bed with no food at that age. It's too young. He doesn't understand really. They do grow out of this fussiness if you don't pander to it and rush to cook him something different.

ParisToLondonMamon Thu 18-May-17 18:15:21

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

MonkeyBusinessxoxo Thu 18-May-17 18:17:01

Make him sit at the table until he eats an agreed amount (I'd say half). You know he likes it so he's just acting up for the sake of it

PuckeredAhole Thu 18-May-17 18:17:30


ceceliajames Thu 18-May-17 18:19:17

Personally I wouldn't say a 22 month old is acting up when refusing food, or consciously doing it. I'd offer some toast/fruit/yoghurt to see if they're actually hungry. My before they're 2-3 they're always changing their minds about food, my DD does anyway!

tinypop4 Thu 18-May-17 18:19:42

Thanks for your input there Paris confused. How should I refer to him in your opinion? On the basis his exact age is relevant to this query.
I have re-read my op and can't see where I called him a baby?

User06383 Thu 18-May-17 18:24:25

I like certain meals, it doesn't mean I want to eat them when someone else tells me I should.

I would just give him some milk before bed.

If it's a regular thing, maybe play around with timings of lunch/afternoon snack?

PedantHere Thu 18-May-17 18:30:00


Taste buds change. I'm sure there's something which you liked before, but don't like now (or vice versa).

MsWanaBanana Thu 18-May-17 18:32:04

ParisToLondonMamon - What a ridiculously irrelevant comment
Op, I've had this a few times where my twin ds's love something one day and refuse to eat it the next. I'd just give them a piece of toast and milk before bed or else they would wake up 4am asking for breakfast!

RoseandVioletCreams Thu 18-May-17 18:32:53

Etymology23 Thu 18-May-17 17:48:38

I just try and go with flow on food I try younger on stuff she wont eat it I just make her something she will like. agree its not acting up etc at this age, I wouldnt force them to do anything,

older is perfectly fine.

gluteustothemaximus Thu 18-May-17 18:37:11

Never to bed without dinner. Always option B.

guinnessgirl Thu 18-May-17 18:38:37

My 22mo has recently started having the odd meal where he doesn't want to try it. We do "first...then" - so, "first, try your dinner. Then pudding." If I stand firm and gently repeat it a few times, he will usually try it. If he likes it I ask him to have some more but don't force him. So long as he tries it, he gets pudding. I've been using the "first... then" phrasing since he was tiny, and am consistent with it, so he knows that if he plays ball, I'll keep my promise. Hth smile

Goldmandra Thu 18-May-17 18:42:19

I think as adults we all have days when we just don't fancy what's for dinner, don't eat much of it and then, if we're hungry later, grab a snack. It is only a big issue if you make it a big issue.

Children do not need adult policing what they put in their mouths. Put the food out, let them choose how much they take/eat, let the get down when they have had enough.

If, once in a blue moon that means they need a bit of fruit/toast/milk before bed that's fine.

The more you try to be in control, the more likely you are to kick off a battle of wills that you will never, ever win.

If you let your child regulate his own food intake and listen to his own appetite, he is much more likely to grow up with a long-term healthy relationship with food.

If a child is 'acting up' for attention by refusing food, the best response is to refuse to engage. You've been doing the right thing by refusing to have a battle. Keep doing it.

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