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Dinner time battles, help please.

(19 Posts)
ineedsomeinspiration Tue 29-Apr-14 14:10:02

DS is 2.4 and is a very big toddler. He's too big for a highchair or a booster seat so now has to sit on a chair at the table. This worked well for a few weeks until he realised he could get down. We now can't get him to sit at the table and eat his dinner.
I don't want to create an issue at dinner time as I don't like the idea of upset and stress around food.
He's never been a big eater at dinner time anyway and now it's nothing. I'd like good habits established from an early age but am at a loss as to how to encourage this. His level of understanding is not at a level where you can reason with him yet. He eats his breakfast and lunch at a small toddler table but I'd really like dinner time to be together as a family and to get something in to him. This has also coincided with quite a picky food stage.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 29-Apr-14 15:05:43

Haven't got time for a full post sorry but do you think one of these might help?

See if your library has a copy of this book too.

If he's getting fussy, how much milk does he have each day and what type?

When he gets down from the table, what do you do?

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 29-Apr-14 19:30:25

Back now. How did dinner go tonight?

ineedsomeinspiration Tue 29-Apr-14 20:35:09

I think he'd kick off big time with one of those seat things. Will see if the library has that book, thank you.
He has about half a small cup of milk in the morning and the same before bed. He drinks quite a lot of water.
He eats enough but has developed a limited number of food choices. He used to eat everything. He will now eat cereal, toast, bread, pitta bread, wraps, fruit, cheese, ham, meat paste, jam, peanut butter, honey, rice cakes, crackers, sausages, mince beef(spag Bol etc), pasta, pesto, potatoes (various ways), Heinz spaghetti, baked beans, peas, carrots and sweet corn. I suppose it's not too bad and could be worse but he used to eat so much more and loved strong flavours.
We have tried encouraging him to the table but it doesn't seem to work. We had his favourite of spaghetti Bol tonight but had about 5 mins of "no want my dinner" before he decided to come and sit at the table and he did eat ok after that. We now ignore him and get on and chat and eat our dinner. When he does come to the table we encourage him to join in the conversation and talk about our food as well.

Auntierosemary Tue 29-Apr-14 20:45:03

How about a normal chair with a harness? My friend did this with a set of toddler reins kind of tied round the chair. You can get raised dinner table seats from ikea - maybe get one of those and tie him to it (!) and sell it to him as a big boy seat?

As for the fighting and struggling, we are having the same thing with 18 month old - we are going to give up the battle and feed her separately before we eat until she is older and calmer (here's hoping, best laid plans n all...).

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 29-Apr-14 21:21:34

If you think he would kick off with a harness, could you not offer him a choice of having it or sitting nicely?

How about one of those Stokke highchairs? My friends dd still sits in hers and she's 4.5.

As for getting fussy, think it quite normal. Ignore, ignore and ignore some more smile

ineedsomeinspiration Tue 29-Apr-14 21:49:14

I know I sound like a big pushover but he doesn't seem to understand choices like that yet. Eg when we're out I'll say walk with mummy or you'll go in your pushchair. The response is " no go pushchair" followed by me saying ok walk with mummy then, his response "no walk with mummy".
I have read elsewhere that the advise is not to worry to much and force the issue and eventually they'll figure it out. Others have said it doesn't matter where they eat as long as they do, I'd rather we started good habits as we mean to go on. He eats breakfast and lunch at his little table so I'm thinking perhaps move these meals to the table too.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 29-Apr-14 22:05:43

Are you sure he doesn't understand choices and he's just not found a way of getting what he wants? smile

ineedsomeinspiration Tue 29-Apr-14 22:08:18

Well yes there is that. He certainly knows his mind. I will see if I can get some sort of second hand chair strap to try.

sewingandcakes Tue 29-Apr-14 22:14:18

Toddlers want everything and nothing, at the same time! Tell him where his meal is, and that he has to eat it at the table. If he gets down, tell him to come back or you will clear his plate away. Count to three, and if he doesn't come back, get rid of it. Then ignore his protests; it'll take a while but he'll get the idea.

JiltedJohnsJulie Tue 29-Apr-14 22:20:29

Exactly sewing smile

ineedsomeinspiration Wed 30-Apr-14 07:15:02

The problem is not him getting down, he usually ok once he's up. It's more him not coming to the table in the first place. I don't think he'd be bothered if I threw his dinner away. It's his least favourite meal tbh. Going to try other meals at the table when he's less tired and he prefers the food on offer.

sewingandcakes Wed 30-Apr-14 07:32:37

Good thinking; you know your child best. Maybe have a few meals of his favourite foods to make him realise it's a good thing. Does he like stickers? You could give him a sticker each time he eats a meal at the table.

ineedsomeinspiration Wed 30-Apr-14 21:19:32

Well today we ate lunch at the garden table and that was all fine.
Tonight I got him to help me set the table and he was very pleased with this. Picked his cutlery and his chair.
The result was he sat at the table before I'd even got dinner to it and ate macaroni cheese with peas, sweet corn and bacon and a yogurt. Whether the same will happen tomorrow I don't know.

JiltedJohnsJulie Wed 30-Apr-14 21:23:00

Glad you've had a better day smile

Kissmequick123 Thu 01-May-14 22:32:06

Eat together, eat normal food (not processed kiddie crap), don't talk about the food, don't offer alternatives, use a harness for his normal chair.

TelephoneTree Thu 01-May-14 22:43:42

oh well done - that sounds good - get home to help you cook too - he could chop mushrooms, rip lettuce etc so will take pride in what's being served up.

Otherwise 'no monkeys at the table'. Either sit nicely or go and sit on the stairs / in the corner / another boring place with nothing to do...

RiverTam Thu 01-May-14 22:50:10

what time are you going dinner? I know you say you want it as a family meal but it could be it's simply too late for him. At that age, depending on when he gets up, I would think dinner could be anytime between 4.30 and 5.30 - it may just be a case of getting the time right.

You say he's picky but that's a pretty substantial list of things there.

You may just have to accept that family meals are some time off in the future, which is fine, you'll get there in the end. Even at nearly 4 and a half, DD often has dinner early if it looks like she's struggling and getting mardy.

Charlotteamanda1 Fri 02-May-14 02:19:11

Try not to use restraints but go with the advice of making him part of preparing the dinner and setting the table. This is fantastic advice as it will make him interested in the food and help develop his food likes as well as encouraging him to sit at the table.
He's at the age of pushing boundaries. I think your spot on with what your doing. It will be hit and miss over the days. Restraint doesn't teach the child it just solves the problem for the parent, unless the child has a specific reason why they need to be strapped in from his age upwards.

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