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4 year old won't feed self - any ideas?

(4 Posts)
ksld Wed 03-Sep-08 11:57:16

My 4 year old DS refuses to feed himself at meals - he will always start and is perfectly capable, but after about 5 mouthfuls he announces 'I need a feed' and won't eat anything unless I feed him.

It all started when DS2 was born, and we just fed him to be sure he would eat, and accepting he needed extra attention. But now DS2 is 18 months and feeding himself, and DS1 still needs feeding. I know it is just laziness/attention seeking, but it is driving me mad.

I have tried:
taking food away and him going without - he is not a big eater and is quite happy to go without all day
reward charts/stickers/bribery etc - he's not interested

The problem is I always give in eventually because I worry about him not eating - he's always been a poor eater, as a baby he would go 4 or 5 days without anything at all to eat, and would happily do the same now. I have got myself in the situation where I will do anything to ensure he has something to eat, hence my problem.

AMumInScotland Wed 03-Sep-08 11:59:37

Sorry, but as long as you're doing it for him, he's not going to change! Would he really fade away if he didn't eat for a few days? I've heard it said that children will never actually starve themselves to the point of doing harm, if there is food available to them.

desperatehousewifetoo Wed 03-Sep-08 12:05:54

You could begin by compromising. Load the spoon for him but leave it on the side of his plate for him to put into his mouth.

It is a skill he has to learn, so lots of praise.

I have to agree that the more you do it for him, the less likely he will feed himself.

Could you also invite some friends over who are good eaters? Might embarrass him into doing it himself

Basementbear Wed 03-Sep-08 12:09:27

I feel your pain - my DS2 is exactly the same - he will be 5 in November! He will eat yoghurts ok and finger food like sandwiches and fruit, but with most other food he gives up after a few spoonfuls at most or just sits there saying "feed me". I know I should be tough on him but he takes so long I usually end up giving in!! I did once tell him several times that I'd put it in the bin if he didn't do it himself, and actually followed through. He was really mad about that so I guess I should be more strict and he will get the message.

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