Struggling at meal times(3 Posts)
Hi I'm new to mumsnet so hope this is the right place to post.
I have a 2 (nearly 3) year old and a 5 month old (boys). My 2 yr old has never been a big eater but since coming on holiday with my parents (we're in week 4 of our 8 week stay & left Daddy at home) he has barely eaten a meal. The foods offered are the same (most ofthe time) to what he has back home. I realise now that what we started out doing has probably made things worse which was bribing him, threatening him (no pudding/straight to bed etc) & constantly saying "come on, eat up". My parents have always been quite strict at meal times and HATE food being left and HATE kids playing with their food. I feel so stressed that they're getting frustrated with him and that he's getting upset. He was in tears tonight
What can I do to encourage him to eat without forcing the issue? How long should I give him to eat? My mum keeps saying I should only give him a set time?! And are there any links I can show to my parents to show them what is recommended as they obviously don't approve of how I usually do things back home! (Very relaxed, don't care much if he eats with his fingers a bit and Daddy only really sees him at dinner and bedtime so tends to play games with him!)
Your instincts are right - your family need to back right off about this, particularly in front of your 2 yr old. Can you talk to your parents when the children are asleep, and explain that in the long run what they are doing won't help. Tell them (don't ask them) that during meal times they need to eat their own food and not mention or comment on how anyone else is eating.
Don't threaten, bribe or cajole your DS. Give the planned pudding irrespective of how much main course has been eaten.
If they worry about food going to waste, then actually if they carry on as they are, more food will go to waste rather than less. A 2 year old shouldn't be made to cry over a meal. Accept it if he doesn't want to eat and just clear away without comment after an agreed amount of time (somewhere around how long he would usually take to eat a meal he was ok with). I personally wouldn't then offer any extra food later, I would just stick to planned snacks and meal times.
The pressure needs to be taken right off your DS, and mealtimes must be as relaxed as possible. If your parents can't manage this, then maybe you could think about stopping the holiday and going home.
Thanks for your reply. Ending the holiday isn't an option as we are abroad!
I have spoken to my parents and tried backing right off and so far so good today. We had a picnic and a meal out today and he ate nearly all of both meals.
I think we'll try rearranging seating at the table as he currently sits opposite my dad and when he leaves food or messes about I can feel my dad's disapproval so that must be daunting for my ds.
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