Author Topic: meltdowns at mealtime  (Read 770 times)

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Offline heatherc4

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meltdowns at mealtime
« on: June 13, 2013, 12:41:54 pm »
so my two year old has always been a picky eater, loves fruits and veggies, but thats about it... minimal meats/rice/pasta etc. lately, when I start to prepare his meals (breakfast, lunch or dinner) he starts to have a meltdown and says he doesnt want to eat. I try to give him choices and make mealtime fun, but I think the idea of him having to sit in a chair and be taken away from playing devistates him. I'm not sure what to do here, because I dont really want to encourage eating 'on the go' because then his day will be filled with constant snacking, but on the otherhand, I dont want to force him to sit in his chair and have a negative association with sitting at the table....
someone had suggested to me previously to let him watch a video while he eats, and that worked for a bit, and he ate like a starving child... then after a bit, it turned into just watching the video and not eating. we have tried letting him play with a toy or two at the table, but then it turns into just playing and no eating.
Ive tried giving him choices of foods, but he wants none of it unless he can take it with him and continue playing, or come to me for a quick bite every few minutes and then return to play.
Any thoughts?

Offline creations

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Re: meltdowns at mealtime
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 22:13:39 pm »
Hello.  Are you still having these same difficulties?
Personally I would structure the day to have meal times at set times (if you don't already) and not fluctuate at all so he can really get used to the routine.
Give a warning before the meal that he needs to finish playing, then a one or two minute notice as you bring the food to the table.  Then expect him to come to the table.  I wouldn't carry him kicking and screaming but I would be quite clear that he is expected to come and eat.  I would also eat with him at every meal, whether you are hungry or not, just have a very small portion if you don't like to eat at that time.  I would also give him his fav foods for several days and make meal time short so he doesn't feel it goes on for ever. If he doesn't eat in say 10 mins and wants to leave the table then fine, but don't continue to feed him beyond this time.  He can wait until the next meal/snack time and again be invited to the table to eat.
If you didn't get results with this I would be tempted to turn off all TVs/screens and put away all toys until after the meal time.  Make it clear that playing resumes after the meal time is over and make a point of playing with him (rather than washing up the dishes or doing other chores).  You could also include him in food prep, making a sandwich together or spreading pate on crackers etc so it is skill building and interesting to him.  My DS is always very proud to announce  "I made this" if he has taken part in making the meal, he also likes to have a clear up job to do after the meal, helping to carry things to the kitchen or wipe down the table.
I think all kids go through a phase of thinking they can come for a bite then run off to play, mine has tried that at picnics but I make it clear we sit down and eat and do not return to play until we are finished.  He might eat less because he wants to get back to play then eat a larger portion at the next meal, that's fine with me I understand he wants to play, but he needs to understand that food doesn't come around the clock in bite size chunks whilst he runs around yk?
You might also find your youngest can be a good role model, as at 6 months picking up finger foods and exploring new tastes etc whilst sitting at the table, your toddler might be more inclined to join in and even show off his skills.

Hope some of this might help

Offline cath~

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Re: meltdowns at mealtime
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2013, 13:31:54 pm »
Can you get him involved in the meal preparation somehow? Eg setting the table, putting food on plates, helping cook? There are loads of toddler friendly recipes out there that he could help with and kids who help with the cooking/preparation are often much more willing to eat it!  Growing his own veggies is also a good idea.
DD1 - 8 years old
DD2 - 5 years old