What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10Find out more
How do you deal with a fussy toddler?(17 Posts)
Help! She is 23 months & it's literally stressing me out so much. Half of the time she won't even try the god dam food! Aaaaaaaah
I have a 26 month old who will eat hardly anything at all. I have no advice but am also tearing my hair out.
Oh goodness, it's horrific isn't it! I can only tell you what seemed to have helped in our house.
Firstly, I cut out snacks completely. Secondly I reduced portion size MASSIVELY. I'm talking a tablespoon of pasta bake. A sausage, one potato and 6 bits of carrot. Two bits of veg if I knew he didn't like it. I always keep more back the kitchen if he wants more. It's a personal thing, but I do want him to finish what's on his plate, but I know that's not for everyone. Thirdly, introduced consequences. If you don't finish dinner, that's ok but no pudding (yoghurt, fruit) and no Paw Patrol/Postman Pat etc before bed.
Don't stress about it. I have found working on the assumption 'it is my job to put healthy food in front of you, it is DC job to eat it' has meant far less stress for everyone. And more food eaten as well. We have no distractions at the table and minimal snacks.
Does make me feel a little better hearing its not only my toddler. It's so bloody frustrating, even worse when i hear/see other toddlers eating EVERYTHING!
Definitely going to cut out snacks & I do sometimes use consequences too i.e. if you eat this you will get a dessert (apparently read somewhere that this is something you should never do though - but what else are you supposed to do for crying out loud!!) anyway this doesn't always work with DD as she is a stubborn moo.
Yeah, I swore I'd never use pudding as a bribe. It bloody works every time though.
Seriously it's best too just decide you're not going to fight them about it. Decide what the meal will be (including pudding sometimes). Give it to them. Act as though you don't care whether they eat it. Eat the same thing yourself and make mealtimes about enjoying the food and each other's company. This method has worked for me. DS has gone through picky phases. I just ignore it and he gets over it.
With 11 dc with no food issues /food fads I can vouch that expecting an empty plate and no desert if not eaten causes no long term problems that I have found as yet!!
My ds 2.8 eats just about anything and sleeps 12 hours a night. No toddler tantrums either!!
What worked for us:
Limit snacks and milk
Accept you cannot force them to eat
Insist they sit at the table and are polite
Tell them to eat what they like and leave what they dont
Adulta eat same food at the same time
Look up their nutritional needs- much less than you might think so a skipped meal is ok
Relax it will pass!
I use healthy food as snacks and involve the kids in cooking. So even making salad, or cuting up veg to.cook the kids are allowed a little/secret taste, they add the herbs, stir the pot etc.
Once on the plate any food can be left but they cant be rude about it, so no screaming ir throwing it off the plate etc
Dd is nearly 4 and we are still having the battle. She will serve herself for days rather than eat something she doesn't feel like eating.
Please don't use food or any other favourite thing as a consequence as you absolutely will make it worse.
Ime (with very stubborn child) the only thing that works is to out food in front of them a d explain that they can eat it or not, but there is no alternative and then carry on eating and chatting as normal and ignore the bit eating. My only instance is that dd remains sat at the table til everyone has finished their dinner. It is a VERY slow process but it is starting to work. She has eaten part of a chicken breastfeeding today, crinkle cut chips and yesterday she asked to try some noodles after I had done a home made Chinese takeaway and she liked them albeit smothered in ketchup.
DS is 7 in a few months and exceptionally fussy. The only veg he will eat is sweetcorn and baked beans (I realise the beans are a bit of a stretch). He's better with fruit but still not great. He lives predominantly of pasta, meat and cheese. He ate everything when weaning but just gradually cut more and more out and won't touch it.
I have tried everything I've ever been able to find advice wise and nothing has made a difference and we both just ended up very stressed.
Eventually I went to see the gp to ask their advice and they basically laughed me out the door he is still the same on the growth curve as he was when he was born, he isn't overweight (though obviously he'll never be skinny on that diet) and they've said as long as he eats at least one thing from every food group then they aren't concerned. Apparently the variety we see as normal in our diet isn't as much of a concern for children. It made me feel a lot better having the gp tell me it wasn't a big deal so now I just don't stress about it. Every so often he'll eat something that he wouldn't touch and I secretly celebrate but I have just found that as long as he's healthy and happy then that's all that matters.
Yep, cut out snacks and milk, but make fruit available somewhere they can reach. They might not touch it for a long time, but prob will eventually, esp if they see you eating from it and they're hungry.
With meals - give them stuff that you know they'll eat initially. Helps build an appetite at meal times. Gradually introduce new things to their plate and DO NOT MAKE A FUSS.
Basically, put food in front of them, ignore protests, don't cajole or use pudding as a bribe, and if they don't eat, no big deal.
I had the world's most fussy eater (officially, I've checked). He's better with age, but even approaching his teens he's still incredibly limited. I worried so much when he was small, fussed, made a big deal. Nothing worked, and I tried it all.
The subsequent offspring got food and ate it or they didn't. I know some children really will go hungry rather than try new things, but most won't. Just make sure there's something on their plate you know they'll eat and try not to worry too much.
The younger ones do still have their picky moments, but they'll try almost anything and eat most of it.
I found the book 'My child won't eat' helpful
Bit of info here:
I have the opposite problem. My son eats everything in sight, he steals off other children's plates at nursery too. Which isn't great as he has problems with milk and tomatoes which are invariably in whatever he steals.
Great tips . My dd is a beige magnet which kills me as I love cooking! Very proud of her this evening she managed to pick every piece of sweet corn and peas out of her fried rice. Obviously great pincer grip....
Join the discussion
Please login first.