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21 month old wanting to fill up on fruit - tantrums?

(7 Posts)
TravellingToad Mon 24-Feb-14 16:53:50

Our 21m old has always been a great eater. Recently he has started a new phase tho. He has started eating a hearty breakfast, porridge and weetabix and then not really eating any lunch. Lunch isn't until 1pm after his nap so I'm sure he's hungry by then.

He either picks at lunch or eats none and the reason is that he is desperate instead to have the entire contents of the fruit bowl. We don't give it to him (not a restaurant) and then by 4pm he is starving and starts up again pointing at the fruit bowl wanting to fill up on bananas and grapes and poiting at the cupboard with the snacks in (rice cakes, breadsticks, biscuits). Then if he eats that he isn't hungry at 5.30 for dinner.

So today I stood firm for the first time. He had home made veg soup for lunch (he's eaten before and enjoyed). He did not even pick up the spoon. Total tantrum, pointing at the fruit bowl etc etc. Shoving the soup away, properly screaming. So he ended up eating nothing. By 4pm again he was asking for a banana. He must be starving but I said no for the first time really and he had a total meltdown. I still had the soup so was trying to offer it to him again and he was so upset. He was really angry/screaming/proper tears as I waved the soup under his nose and kept shoving it and pointing at the cupboard.

I just worry...does he understand? I'm wavering, thinking oh he's hungry and he doesn't understand the concept that I want him to eat the "real food" and not fill up every day on snacks. (fruit/nuts/biscuits - he'd love to just scoff them all day long instead of meals)

So from a development point of view, can he understand WHY i'm saying no to the snacks if he hasn't eaten lunch or is his heart breaking because he's hungry and I"m denying food!

He doesn't speak much except "more" and "banana" smile Am I handling this correctly?

sewingandcakes Mon 24-Feb-14 17:14:44

I think he's exercising his will over the one thing he has control over: what he eats. If you show him that you feel upset and stressed by it then he'll probably do it more often.

Why not reduce the size of his breakfast, give him a small amount of fruit mid-morning, and then try giving him lunch before his nap. He'll then be able to have fruit when he wakes up.

Choose your battles; he's eating fruit which is a good thing; at least he's not limiting himself to chocolate...

sewingandcakes Mon 24-Feb-14 17:18:40

I think you're doing the right thing in starting to set boundaries too. My 20mo ds3 is starting to understand that certain behaviours get him a telling off like repeatedly emptying the fridge

cupoftchai Mon 24-Feb-14 17:25:44

he eats fruit? and porridge? can we swap?!!
sorry, not helpful.

TravellingToad Mon 24-Feb-14 18:16:35

Ok tough love has been good. He ate a good portion of lentil casserole , potato and green beans for dinner followed by a yoghurt, a kiwi fruit and his weight in cashew nuts.

If we had given in over the banana earlier and all the grapes then he would have eaten a lot less.
Tough love from now on. And to the earlier poster YES he is exercising control for sure - he is going thru a really contrary phase just now.

Thank you!

MiaowTheCat Mon 24-Feb-14 19:43:30

I have another fruit maniac who will yell "APPUL NANA PAER" all the way around the supermarket at any opportunity. She wouldn't turn down chocolate though!

Goldmandra Mon 24-Feb-14 20:25:48

Stick with it. He is definitely old enough to understand that he can have control over certain aspects of his eating and want to extend that control to aspects that aren't appropriate.

The reason that children of this age have these tantrums is that they are aware of their new powers of control and are testing out where the limits lie.

He'll soon get the idea that he can't just go to the cupboard to get what he wants but, instead, gets to choose from what you've made available on the table. If you carry on being consistent he will learn quickly where the boundaries are and stop fighting to push them.

He won't necessarily work out why you're not getting him the food he wants but he's clearly quickly worked out that he can't make you get different food by pointing and screaming. Just keep reinforcing that message grin

Your food sounds lovely BTW.

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