Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Three year old refusing dinner, can I have your advice please?

(17 Posts)
andgodcreatedwoman Thu 01-Oct-09 18:14:57

My dd has just refused to even try any of her pasta dinner. We have this every night. Her diet is very limited and we're struggling to know what to do for the best.

Would you give her some cereal or yoghurt or something, just to get something in her tummy before bed?

I know exactly how I'd deal with it if she was older, but she's still so tiny and she is always hungry in the morning so I know she's not getting enough at this end of the day.

Any help would be appreciated as we're nearly at milk and bed time!!


CarGirl Thu 01-Oct-09 18:17:51

when giving something new only give a tiny bit along with other stuff you know they like and lots of praise for a try.

colditz Thu 01-Oct-09 18:17:56


I'd let her be hungry until tomorrow.

I might offer her her dinner again before bed.

andgodcreatedwoman Thu 01-Oct-09 18:17:56

Bumping as am otherwise going to give in and give her some weetabix!

andgodcreatedwoman Thu 01-Oct-09 18:18:50

Even at three Colditz? That's my gut instinct but I'm swayed by her age.

BecauseImWorthIt Thu 01-Oct-09 18:19:00

Well - I'm a tough mummy. blush At the age of 3 I would say that she knows full well what she's doing and she's old enough to understand what you want. Therefore you could end up making this a battle of wills very easily.

Given that it's the end of the day and you will both be tired, why don't you just give her food that you know she likes? (Albeit that I know this can change in an instant!)

If you want to do the introduction of different foods, or try and insist that she eats something she says she doesn't like, do that at lunchtime.

Are you sure she's really hungry? I had all kinds of problems with DS2 until I realised that he just wasn't hungry when I decided it was tea time.

If it's really a battle of wills, and you know she would normally like the food, then I would not give her anything else, to reinforce the message. If she's getting milk at bedtime then you can be safe in the knowledge that you're not starving her.

FlamingoBingo Thu 01-Oct-09 18:19:27

Personally, I wouldn't make food an issue. I let my children eat what and when they want and they self-regulate their diets brilliantly.

You need to take a step back from cultural thinking of what constitutes a normal diet and just think about what is a balanced one overall.

Forget about what she's eating over one day, and think about what she ends up eating over one week or even one month.

Based on how we do it, I would just let her eat what she wants now. You don't want her waking hungry later on.

Bear in mind, if you do let her regulate her own diet, it may take a while for her to start eating more than just pasta (or whatever it is she likes at the moment) but she will start branching out once you take the pressure off and she realises she really is in control.

CarGirl Thu 01-Oct-09 18:19:35

I wouldn't give her anything else either btw, they're pretty cunning even at 3 you know.

seeker Thu 01-Oct-09 18:20:52

Is it something she usually likes? If so, I would offer her some plain toast or something like that at bed time. Certainly nothing "treat-y" like yogurt. Or warm the pasta up in the microwave and let her have another go at it.

If it's something new, then I might relent and give her the cereal!

andgodcreatedwoman Thu 01-Oct-09 18:22:13

Well, it's too late to try the pasta again as I've eaten thrown it away blush

Thanks all, I'll go with my gut then.

BLEEPyouYOUbleepingBLEEP Thu 01-Oct-09 18:25:15

This is only my opinion, but when my DD was 3 and refusing nearly all the food I gave her, I turned it round into making it her choice. I told her that of course, she didn't have to eat what I gave her, but she would only get a banana to eat and nothing else until the next mealtime. I think bananas have most things in that children need, so she wasn't starving, but had a 'boring' food.

I gave her child friendly meals, as it was dinnertime that was the prob, like no onions lol, but that weren't meals she was used to, and she chose the banana option for two days and then gave in smile She's 8 now, and I'm so glad I took the plunge and was firm. She still doesn't like onions, but eats/tries most things. No quick fix though sorry smile

Laugs Thu 01-Oct-09 18:29:51

Mine (almost 3) goes to bed without if she doesn't eat her dinner. I don't get cross or fuss around her though, just take the plate away. There are a couple of foods I know she actually doesn't like, so I don't serve her these, but anything else that she does like normally I expect her to eat and don't offer an alternative. She never wakes in the night hungry either.

She always eats a huge breakfast (even when she's had dinner smile) and a decent sized lunch, then sometimes just doesn't seem to be that hungry in the evening.

MinkyBorage Thu 01-Oct-09 18:31:27

If she doesn't eat it at the meal time, then no coming back for it later, check she has definitely finished with it before you throw it away.
Definitely no fights about it, although I really do try to make them have one mouthfull.
Definitely no alternative meal.
Don't use dessert as a threat/ encouragement. Don't even mention dessert, unless she eats well, then she gets some. If not then she's clearly not hungry.
Milk before bedtime.
Don't worry about it unless she she is losing weight or you are genuinely worried about her weight.
This is just a stage, it will change.

MinkyBorage Thu 01-Oct-09 18:35:26

btw mine are always STARVING in the morning regardless of what they've eaten the night before.
and, forgot to say, I would just keep offering her whatever you think she might like, but don't go to too much trouble too often. Do you have other dc? If so, make what they like to eat a priority.
When dd1 went through this stage nothing I did made any difference, and she is now 3.11 and eats fantastically. DD2 2.9 eats nothing which is the opposite way round to a year ago.

herbietea Thu 01-Oct-09 18:41:16

Message withdrawn

redhotredhead Thu 01-Oct-09 19:21:45

I read this article How to Cure Finicky Eaters a while ago and found it helpful. Some of the stuff maybe not relevant for a three year old but the overall advice sound I think.

andgodcreatedwoman Thu 01-Oct-09 19:25:32

MinkyBorage, yes I have another dd who is 19 months and eats like a waste disposal unit. Guess I'll be ready for them swapping roles then!

I'll try not to stress so much about it. I had been using a yoghurt as a treat/bribe but could see that I was making problems for later on.

You've all put my mind at rest anyway, she has gone to bed full of milk and happy.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now