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2 year won't sit to eat

(17 Posts)
AntiHop Mon 09-Jan-17 20:43:03

My dd is nearly 2 and a half. She will not sit still to eat her dinner. We end up following her around the room whilst she plays, trying to coax her to take a spoonful. Just leaving the plate for her does not work, as she will just ignore it. Trying to coax the meal into her is really time consuming. Our evenings are already very pressured as we both work full time. She is going to bed later than I'd like as it takes so long to get her dinner down her. She will eat it once we offer it spoonful by spoonful, so she clearly is hungry. She is just too distracted to sit down and eat.

Is this to be expected from a 2 and a half year old?

At nursery she sits down and eats her lunch of course, and breakfast is usually not a problem when she has it at home.

Peachy27 Mon 09-Jan-17 20:51:44

Put the tv on? I did it with my first, much to my parents' disapproval, but it meant he ate and I was far less stressed. Never happened with the subsequent two who would always sit at the table but maybe that was because they weren't sitting there alone. If I'm on my own I will sit and eat in front of the television rather than at the table, so kind of figured it was the same thing with a two year old!

Rumtopf Mon 09-Jan-17 20:58:52

Do you try and sit together at the dining table?

Don't chase her.

You can either turn the tv on and sit her in front of it zombie like, or turn off distractions and sit together to eat returning her to the table when she gets down.

AntiHop Mon 09-Jan-17 21:31:19

TV definitely helps, but dp is reluctant to do this every night. But it is not a sure thing with the tv, she often gets too engrossed it what she is watching and ignores her food. We have tried sitting together at the table, she gets down. We've tried getting her to sit at her own little table, but we won't.

LittleBoat Mon 09-Jan-17 21:40:09

Don't follow her round the room or coax her to eat.

Sit with her and chat to each other/her. Let her get up and down as she wishes but food, plate, cutlery stay on the table.

When you've finished (and no longer than 1/2 an hour later) clear the table without comment.

Give her a snack later if she wants one, but also at the table and apply the same rules.

Make sure she's comfortable at the table, booster seat, small cutlery etc. and get her involved in setting the table, washing the dishes, preparing the food, even planning the menu.

I would def not have the telly on, but can see how it works for others.

Poocatcherchampion Mon 09-Jan-17 21:44:28

That would be back in the highchair here.

I'd just keep modelling what you want to happen and one day it just might sink in. So a meal at the table, from which she is not allowed to get down. She eats, or doesn't and if still hungry gets pudding etc. In our house we have a rule that if they leave the table they won't have any more to eat. Works a treat encouraging a wee before the meal. They ask if they want to get down during the meal even if it is to pick up a fork etc. 4 and 3yo.

I'm not boasting just saying how we do it differently

Orangedaisy Mon 09-Jan-17 21:51:16

DD (nearly 3) is still in her high chair. And happy to be. Is that an option still? Can't get down from that....

Fresh01 Mon 09-Jan-17 22:26:20

Do one of you sit with her at the table? Could you talk and look at at a "lift the flap" type book whilst eating?

Does she eat finger food better than using cutlery, even just till you get the routine sorted?

One of mine is still sitting on a Tripp Trapp chair (without harness) at the age of 6 as it has him at a good height at the table and he is a complete fidget and messer on a normal chair. Our normal chairs do have him low to the table so he isn't as comfortable on them.

Is she treating the chasing around the room as a game and by doing it she has your full attention?

Eminybob Mon 09-Jan-17 22:32:50

DS is 2 and a half and still in a high chair otherwise he'd be the same.
We have the Ikea antilope which is easily big enough for him and will be for ages yet. Plus the tray comes off so you can push it right up to the table.
Whenever he's had to sit at a proper chair he's up and down and sliding around on it, I plan on using a highchair for as long as possible.

BackforGood Mon 09-Jan-17 22:42:22

I certainly wouldn't be following her around.
I would sit at the table with her, and if she doesn't do it, then she'd go back in the high chair.

Quarksoundslikequack Mon 09-Jan-17 22:50:11

Wait until she asks for food & then sit her down.

She gets up, take the food away until she asks again.

Aquamarine1029 Tue 10-Jan-17 04:44:07

Please, shut off the tv as it only enforces bad habits. Stop chasing her and sit down to eat your dinner. She's not daft, and she will figure out she needs to come to the table to eat. Don't let her control the situation.

skankingpiglet Tue 10-Jan-17 16:51:59

I agree with LittleBoat with the addition of making sure toys are packed away too.

It's normal, my 2.5yo is the same. Constantly finding an excuse to get up for a wander, and that's in a child who loves her food. Their attention span is just pretty rubbish at this age. I sit with her, chat, and remind her to sit properly (she likes to take a mouthful then spin around to peer over the back of her chair). If she gets up, that's fine but try to make it that there's nothing really worth getting up for. I stay at the table with the dinner if she does this and remind her she needs to eat. I also put a time limit on dinner and I know on occasion she's gone to bed, although not hungry, let's say a little less full than normal as it's the lesser evil when compared to a late bedtime. She's good with her numbers so I provide a countdown in minutes when her time's nearly up, which seems to work.

DearMrDilkington Tue 10-Jan-17 16:55:10

Why on earth are you chasing her around the room with a spoonful of food? Your turning this into a game for her!

Salumeria Tue 10-Jan-17 17:13:30

Don't follow her around, that is absolute madness!

I wouldn't stand for getting down, or playing with toys at mealtimes. If necessary, put her back in a highchair, strapped in.

Make a big thing of tidying up together before meals, get her to help you lay the table with you, put the toys out of reach/in a different room once you have tidied.

Of course she is going to get down and run back to her toys if she knows she has faithful servants to spoon-feed her while she plays. You really need to break that habit asap.

Try and make mealtimes fun without toys - who can take a bite of something green, who can take a big bite like a dinosaur, who can take a tiny bite like a shark, can Mummy or Daddy guess what DD is going to eat next, will it be potatoes or peas, can you guess what part of the picture on DD's plate will be revealed when she takes the next bite etc etc.

Her eating a bit less in the short term is worth it for her developing good habits - if she is eating well at breakfast and lunchtime then don't stress that you have to get her to eat by spoon-feeding her while she plays. You can feed her, if necessary, at the table, sitting on a chair, but nowhere else. If you are firm and don't change the rules, she will soon learn.

ODog Wed 11-Jan-17 20:54:52

This would be my 2.7yo if we didn't put him in a high chair. He's massive and still fits comfortably in an IKEA high chair. And there he will remain until he can be trusted.

AntiHop Wed 11-Jan-17 21:34:25

Thanks very much for all the tips. I am going to try out different suggestions.

skankingpiglet good point about the toys, but we have a small flat and there is no where to put the toys away to.

Orangedaisy and Eminybob yes when we're at the table she sits in her high chair, but she is capable of climbing both in and out of it herself. We took the straps off long ago, as she hates being restrained.

Fresh01 and DearMrDilkington Good point about whether she sees being chased around the room as a game. But it is definitely not a game to her. She just wants to get on with playing with her toys and it takes a lot of effort to focus her on taking a mouthful even when she when are chasing her around the room.

I will try to keep to the 'food only on the table rule' that many of you suggest, but I fear she would chose to ignore her food. I really don't want her going to bed hungry as she already wakes up a couple of times a night. I will try Salumeria and Fresh01 's ideas about engaging her at the table.

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