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Help with getting a 3 year old to sit at the table to eat!

(12 Posts)
leoemma Wed 13-Aug-08 20:51:15

My ds is 3 this month and is really difficut to get to sit at a table to eat, however he will do it for my in laws and clear his plate. Even if I give him the same food he refuses it and wont sit at the table. Any ideas?

quaranta Wed 13-Aug-08 20:58:26

sit with him. eat with him. chat about this and that. i tell mine we are having a 'conversation' and then we involve his little brother and anyone else around who will listen! good luck, it doesn't always work here and if he really won't stay i say fine and take the food away. ( but allow him cereal after his bath because can't bear idea of him going to bed hungry)

leoemma Wed 13-Aug-08 21:02:29

I took his food away today and he just wasnt bothered! He is very stubborn and think it is a battle of wills. Will keep perservering though - thanks!

quaranta Wed 13-Aug-08 21:19:54

the other thing i have found with my 3 year old ds is that he definitely has days when he wants to eat and days when he is just not that bothered - as you say. i try to respect that and generally i would say a day of not eating that much may follow a day or two of eating quite a lot. but then i am like that too and i would hate it if someone force fed supper if i had had a big lunch - if you see what i mean! good luck keep me posted!

fin42 Wed 13-Aug-08 21:19:58

I think the key is perseverence. We've always sat at the table for meals, but there have been plenty of times when we've had very stressful mealtimes.
My ds is 3.8 now and will sit through most meals except when really tired.
Mostly I give him warning and if he's watching the telly I say 'when this is finished you come through and have your tea'.
We also play a cd of children's music during the meal as a compromise. A bit annoying but now I don't even hear it.
We generally let him take a jam tart or fruit through to the living room as a treat at the end of his meal.

jollydo Wed 13-Aug-08 21:23:22

I would put the food on the table and tell him it is there, then leave it to him. But try to make it look really tempting, something he really likes or made interesting. My ds likes it if he can 'make' things himself, e.g. put cheese onto crackers. If there is anyone else there then try to make it sound as though you are having a great time / interesting conversation. If he gets up from the table, I would just do as quaranta says and say fine, remove the food.
I find my ds goes through phases like this, but the more consistent I am about eating together, at the table, the more he keeps up the good habits. He is also MUCH better if I have made sure he is very hungry by meal time.
(Not everyone might like this idea, but I also let him bring small toys to the table - a couple of cars or paper & pencils - which seem to keep him happier at the table for longer when his attention wanders from the food.)

Jewelsandgems Wed 13-Aug-08 21:39:40

You could try having all meals at the table at first I.E breakfast/lunch/dinner and after a week or so of that, hopefully he may realise that this is here to stay. Also, I agree with the other posters; if he does not want the food, just remove it say "you did not eat your dinner so there is no dessert" and then wth no other fuss just let him get down. But, you stay (and the other family members) and finish your meals. I found that my DD wanted to get down until she realised we were not coming through to the sitting room to play with her, all of a sudden she wanted to be back at the table!

Agree wth jolly about making the mealtimes fun. DD eats alot better if she puts her cheese on her bread, or she makes her wrap and then I roll it for her etc.

Another thing Ido is chat to her all the tme, and her favourite mealtime question is "DD what is your favourite lunch?" (if it is lunchtime) and she loves playing that game! She says sometimes food items, sometimes it's "giraffes" etc but it does make mealtimes alot more lighthearted and full of giggles.

simpson Wed 13-Aug-08 22:07:55

Leoemma - just realised I replied on your other thread, not stalking you or anything grin

My Ds is also 3 at end of this month& can be shocking at the table unless he is eating baked beans his current fav hmm

I have noticed a difference if I sit with him like others have said. Also if I don't let him eat anything too close to meal he does much better. Breakfast is usually ok as he is starving.

He also likes to go to drawer and get his own cutlery, some how this has improved meal times maybe he feels more in control or something...

slavemum Wed 13-Aug-08 22:22:32

Can u get her involved with making the meals? She may be more willing to sit down to eat something she's helped prepare.
We don't all at as a family every night because of work, but when we do we each have to relate something good that happened during the day. Find the kids eat well when we're all having a conversation they're interested in.

slavemum Wed 13-Aug-08 22:23:30

sorry just realised u said ds, not dd. doh!

leoemma Thu 14-Aug-08 22:13:58

Had a fab day today - ate all his breakfast, lunch and dinner at the table. Followed all your advice on being consistent and actually didnt give him a choice about what he had - it was what I gave him or nothing! Am sure it wont be the same tomorrow though love him!

quaranta Thu 14-Aug-08 23:17:45

great well done you. doing same here and it is so nice when ds (s) eat lovely food you have made them. here only get around 2/3 of the 'five a day' in to him - and one is normally ketchup but never mind. good luck for tomorrow.

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