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Why will my 2 1/2 yr old eat like a horse at the child minders but not at home?

(10 Posts)
Beeny1980 Thu 30-Jul-09 16:30:25

Hi all

First time i've used a site like this so apols if using wrong language / abbrev's etc etc. I will endeavour to learn i promise!

I have a 2 1/2 yr old who spends 4 days a wk at a child minder who is a star and my girl eat likes a trooper. When at home with us, she eats like a sparrow. I provide food for CM so it's the same food and i am not pushy / stressed etc etc when offering her stuff at home, yet she refuses to eat much more than a couple of mouthfuls.
Incredibly frustrating but try to keep face / voice normal so she doesn't cotton on.

Any advice / tips etc etc would be greatfully rex'd. I'm normally a sunny, happy person and this is starting to make me question my parenting skills!!

Thank youuuuuuuuuuuuu XXXXX

mrshibbins Thu 30-Jul-09 18:44:18

i dunno Beeny, i have an 8 yr old SD who was the same. she'd always been like it apparently. ate like a wolf when she stayed with other people, but at home ...

when i moved in, when she was 6.5, her dad still used to spoon feed her to get her to eat ... so i've concluded it's an attention thing

i try to just ignore it. i make healthy food and give her the freedom to eat it, or not to eat it, but i don't plead with her or force her or make an issue of it. i don't provide big snacks on demand later either, just a piece of fruit or a cereal bar or nuts ...

she used to hold out for the sweet snack on demand but she's getting the picture now and starting to finish her dinner off more times than not wink

FabBakerGirlIsBack Thu 30-Jul-09 18:46:35

Do you mean she sparrow eats at homs after horsey amounts at lunch time/ If so, mayb e not hungry after a big lunch.

Or maybe she is just on the go more at the cms so eats more.

Or cm makes her finish her plate?

Gives her stuff you don't know about?

Doesn't eat well there either but the cm doesn't want to say.

I'm a cm and used to care for child who would eat ANYTHING I put in front of her - and would clear her plate - but would only eat chicken nuggets and hotdogs at home grin.

She would eat chinese, indian, italian - you name it she tried it. It was definitely an attention thing - mum used to stress when she wouldn't eat at home whereas I am very much a 'well, that's lunchtime over' type of person and didn't make an issue of it.

On the other hand, my own ds will only eat certain foods - faddy doesn't come close to it blush. And I have the same rules for him as I have for mindees.............

That's kids for you grin

StealthPolarBear Thu 30-Jul-09 20:01:12

My Ds (2y3m) is the same - goes to nursery 3 days a week and eat everything and anything, but at home he doesn't like it hmm.
I do think I need to start being stricter about not letting him have something else if he refuses something (that we know he likes and eats) so I'm going to try but would also be interested in any tips.

ellagrace Sat 01-Aug-09 00:35:42

are there other children there? when my son is going through not eating phases (he also has won't stop eating phases) at home he allegedly still eats when he goes to nursery a couple of days a week. the explanation they gave me for it is that it's because all the other children are eating. he also eats things there that he doesn't 'like' at home and apparently that's normal too, most of the kids do simply because the other kids are all eating.

basic monkey see, monkey do stuff.

either way i wouldn't worry. i know everyone says this and it's hard to take on board but they're not going to starve themselves.

don't know if this was any use but that's the answer i got and i haven't had a better one.

limonchik Sat 01-Aug-09 00:54:06

"Incredibly frustrating but try to keep face / voice normal so she doesn't cotton on.

Any advice / tips etc etc would be greatfully rex'd. I'm normally a sunny, happy person and this is starting to make me question my parenting skills!!"

I think this is a big part - food is a very emotional thing and a 2.5 year old is just learning how to influence and effect the world/people around her. She probably picks up on your emotional reaction to her eating despite you trying your best not to show it. It's very, very common for children to eat fine with childminder/nanny/nursery and not with their parents. The relationship between the child and carer doesn't have the same emotional investment as the child-parent one - the carer isn't so bothered about the child's eating and the child isn't so bothered about trying to effect/control them. When you think about it, what she eats is one of the few areas of her life where your dd gets to exert some power!

Other factors are that your dd is busy and active all day at the CMs, so will be hungrier, and lots of children eat better when there are other children eating too - the desire to fit it and do what everyone else is doing is evident from a very young age.

Children are often a lot more demanding and challenging with their parents than with childminders and nannies - I think they just feel a lot more confident in their parents' love so can push those boundaries and test your limits. If she's healthy and happy then try not to worry about it - as ellagrace says she won't starve herself. Eating like a sparrow 3 days a week is fine if 4 days a week she eats like a horse. You definitely have no reason to question your parenting

alibubbles Sat 01-Aug-09 10:12:55

I am a childminder, I have had parents sit watching their children eat at my house. They are amazed at what they eat, how much they eat and at the fact they they remain at the table and ask to leave when they have finished.

I instill eating at the table together from a very early age, we eat together, and the same food. It is a social event, they serve themselves and each other. They use napkins and wear gingham smocks, which they all love to choose their colour. Yes they can make a mess, and are encouraged to eat what they select, but not necessarily to eat everything on their plate.

i do monitor portions as one of them has a tiny appetite because of previous feeding issues.

I think the social aspect is the biggest help, we chat about what we have done in the morning, or what they did at the weekend and they don't notice how much they are eating.

hophophippidtyhop Sun 02-Aug-09 10:12:02

My daughter was exactly the same, and I also provide the food when she goes to the childminder once a week. She has been there since 9 months and is almost two. She doesn't sparrow eat so much now, but I do find she always eats better when we see her cousins and they eat together. I just ignored it and figured if she was hungry she'd eat more. She's a good eater now, though will still have days when she eats hardly anything!
If I was you I'd look upon it as 4 days out of seven she eats more than enough for the rest of the week and she'll grow out of it!

Beeny1980 Fri 30-Oct-09 09:22:45

Thank you all so much - sorry for late response. Things are not much better but am more happy to accept my fate and not stressing as much.

Thanks again

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