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How to deal with 21 month old refusing food

(11 Posts)
Gangle Fri 01-Jan-10 22:25:30

DS is 21 months and generally an ok eater. Over the last week he has started refusing meals and just wondering how to deal. For example, I made a lovely chicken casserole which he picked at for a few minutes then threw on the floor. He's done this a number of times over the last few days so I ran out of patience and ended the meal, no fruit/yoghurt for dessert. 20 minutes later I felt guilty and worried he may still be hungry so returned him to the table where he had yoghurt and some mango. What are you supposed to do? Not give them anything else if they refuse to eat something or just take away the main and give dessert as normal? It's also really upsetting as I'm slaving away in the kitchen and he then refuses to touch it!

OP’s posts: |
piscesmoon Fri 01-Jan-10 22:44:19

It isn't about food. It is a power struggle-if you fight it, you can't win. Serve up the food and he eats it or doesn't eat it. Don't comment either way-just remove if he isn't eating it and serve pudding. Do the same with pudding. (Don't let him get the idea that there are 'good' foods and 'bad' foods). Don't give him anything else. If he says that he is hungry, calmly tell him he should have eaten the meal and then don't discuss it further. DON'T give snacks other than having some fresh fruit available. He won't starve and he will get the message and eat if hungry. He can't have a power struggle if you don't take part. It helps to eat together.

Gangle Fri 01-Jan-10 22:50:57

Thanks PiscesMoon. I do try and eat with him but we eat different things as I am veggie and will eat things I would rather he didn't. If we eat together, he wants my meal although it doesn't work if I pretend to eat his (still not interested!) Take your point about making sure it is not a power struggle and that there are no good or bad foods but it is so worrying and frustrating when they won't eat. I also think he has had biscuits and chocolate over Christmas and has now got a bit of a taste for them as he'll refuse dinner and ask for biscuits!

OP’s posts: |
Gangle Fri 01-Jan-10 22:52:14

and if he throws food? Take it away?

OP’s posts: |
PacificDogwood Fri 01-Jan-10 22:52:54

Agree with pisces, this is not about food, it is about asserting his own will, so do not engage in a battle of wills as You Will Loose grin!
Do as suggested above: offer meal, leave him to eat it or not, and remove empty plate/leftovers/whole meal without comment. No baby/toddler has ever starved themselves to harm.

My DS3 is same age as yours, it has helped us to have him only ever eat in his high-chair, no food on the go (apart from when out, of course).

Also, IMO, do not "slave in the kitchen" if you end up feeling resentful when he does not appreciate your efforts as he won't. Our boys eat the same as us with concessions made regarding spicyness and consistency (smaller lumps for DS3). And the odd time we have a curry or other takeaway they do not like, they get chicken dipper-type thingies grin...

Your little boy will grow out of it. This too shall pass, this too shall pass...

PacificDogwood Fri 01-Jan-10 22:54:43


Yes, thrown food ends the meal calmly but abruptly here. Although that is the ideal I aspire to: it is hard to stay/feel calm when entire place setting has been swiped to the ground in one fell swoop, gah!!

IMoveTheStarsForChristmas Fri 01-Jan-10 22:56:25

DS is 2.1. Boot Camp has started.

He gets offered his dinner (always things he likes) and I get on with washing up/laundry whatever and leave him to it. The SECOND he starts playing with it, it's 'bye bye dinner' and in the bin.

If he eats more than about half, he gets another thing (whatever her asks for, so flapjack, banana cake or yoghurt)

Less than that, and lots of messing around, and he gets nothing.

It's only been 3 days and it's working already. Don't worry about starving him. If he doesn't eat dinner he's not going to fall down the plug hole or anything, missing one meal in the grand scheme of things (ie introducing a better habit) is OK.

Having said all that, DS, following a horrible gastric bug that lasted over 2 weeks, lived on biscuits and petit filoud for 4m when he was 18mo.

piscesmoon Sat 02-Jan-10 09:31:14

I don't expect he is hungry after Christmas! I tried everything with my first (including to my shame-force feeding)and it doesn't work. Take the emotion out of it-serve it up and remove-never discuss, even to say 'good boy' if he eats it. Could he not eat most of your veggie diet?

addictedtolatte Sat 02-Jan-10 09:48:57

my ds is 19 months and does this all the time. he gets a cold then wont eat for about 2 weeks after it. i used to worry but have got used to the pattern now. when he goes back to eating he doenst stop i dont know where he puts it. smile like people have said it is just a phase. i also do what IMove says. i do dishes or other chores while he eats. he seems to eat more if i do this as he feels he isnt being watched so doesnt have to misbehave becausee noone is watching anyway.

jaded247 Wed 25-Sep-19 21:41:00

You're not alone. My DS is 21 months and I'm going through the same situation as you. He won't eat anything and most food just gets thrown onto the floor. I hope it's a phase because I can't put up with it any longer. It stresses me out knowing he's not eaten properly. Apparently a child's appetite slows down between the age of 1 and 5. Just keep trying and know that eventually your child will start eating. With my DS he'd rather have a bottle of milk than a meal so I'm trying to cut back on the milk.

jaded247 Wed 25-Sep-19 21:43:16

Sorry posted on the wrong post 🤦🏽‍♀️

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