Wednesday, June 11, 2008

How to Get a Toddler to Eat: Chapter 143


Apparently telling a 2-year old to eat because there are kids are starving somewhere in the world doesn’t work.

We’ve been having trouble this past week getting my daughter to eat. I’m not sure what happened or what caused this behavior; it’s as if she’s lost all interest in food. And to think just a few weeks ago she had the appetite of a construction worker.

Not anymore.

Half the time I’m not sure where she’s getting her energy from; I'm beginning to think maybe she feeding from the radiation off the TV. The wife doesn’t think that’s possible. Obviously she doesn’t watch The Discover Channel.
So I came up with an idea: I’ve invited her favorite stuffed animal, Mr.L.B., to join the family at the dinner table.


He has his own place setting, sits quietly at the table while he eats, behaves, uses his “please's” and “thank you's”, finishes all of his vegetables, and comes up with pleasant dinner conversion.
Well, except the time his favorite presidential candidate dropped out.
Anyhow, it seemed she loved the idea because she actually started eating a little. But I think she’s had enough because this morning I saw this in the bathroom trashcan:


It's time to come up with another idea.

46 comments:

Black Hockey Jesus said...

I just leave a plate of food on the table & Lucy grabs something whenever. She hasn't bought into the whole "meal" idea yet, and she's 4.

Pixie said...

My kids don't have to clean their plate, but there is a minimum requirement. They at least have to try everything. But even that takes a lot of time and energy, especially with Monkey. She is so stubborn that she'll sit there for hours in protest of eating something. Luckily I'm stubborn too, so it's getting better.

Amrita said...

My sisters also haad similar problems with their kids.

What about the Presidential candidate who is still in the race?
He really has his plate full.

Mac and Cheese said...

My daughter is hard to feed, but I've decided not to stress over it. I looked malnourished when I was three, yet I still managed to find myself on a diet in my teen years.

Whirlwind said...

My girls have never been picky eaters. Except for Moe, who apparently has now figured out how to hide undesirable food in her lap until she gets seconds of the things she likes.

Nicole P said...

The problem with my kids is that they refuse to try anything. They just automatically say that they don't like it. The other day, I was trying to get my boys to eat some peas, not a very unusual food. So we played a game, I threw the peas across the table, one at a time, and they had to try to catch them in their mouths. It worked. They ate a lot of them. And the cat ate the peas that hit the floor.

kittenpie said...

We don't require plate cleaning, but she has to eat enough to seem like it might sustain her before she gets any dessert, which seems to work.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter said...

OK, here you go. Ready for the scientific explanation? Non-funny? Because my 2 1/2 year old twins won't eat and I just HAD to know why?

Appetite typically drops off between 2 and 4 and getting them to eat can be frustrating BUT they are getting what they need from the two or three bites they take. They've already had the gigantic growth spurt of the first two years. They aren't in for any more major growing for another two. So, she'll eat when she's hungry.

Also? Don't be surprised that she turns away from anything new. This goes back to prehistoric times when children were taught what was good and what was poisonous. By the age of two, all new foods are rejected on the basis they may be poisonous or make them sick. So, yes, this is a behavior that's ingrained in all of us.

Whew. OK. Did that help?

Danielle said...

Um. Stuffed animal envy. That's a tough one.... try telling Mr. LB you love him more and then let him sleep in your bed at night. Offer him ice cream after dinner, and a cartoon....

:) totally kidding.

She's adorable!

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, kids will go through picky eater phases. When she's truly hungry, she'll let you know.

How About Two? said...

Throw the food into a dog dish and tell kids the food is NOT for them.

Just try keeping them away.

Surfer Jay said...

Classic.

creative-type dad said...

How About Two? -- Last week? Nope. Today, I'm actually considering it.

Coal Miner's Granddaughter -- I don't even know what to say. Wow?

Artist Unplugged said...

When my son was young I used to cut his sandwiches in the shape of a gingerbread man. Try putting the food on her plate in designs and trails, like dominoes, with the surprise at the end of it. Now that 19 year old eats like an infant again, every two hours! Gonna have to take on a job just to feed him.....

iVegasFamily said...

Our son is a complete pig when it comes to eating. He likes everything, including asparagus, calamari and a lot of other stuff you wouldn't expect a two-year-old to like. However, on occasion he goes through a period of a couple of days where he's just not interested in eating. We don't worry about it. If he's hungry he'll eat. As long as he's drinking fluids and maintaining his wait there's nothing to worry about. Also, we don't try to force it by providing alternatives to what is cooked for the entire family. Mommy and Daddy aren't short order cooks. It sounds cruel, but it has worked well for us.

Amber said...

Brilliant! Only my fussy toddler's favorite toy is a train.

Do you think Thomas would be up for dinner? ;-)

The Real Mother Hen said...

Hhmmm...
One will eat when one is hungry.
So if she doesn't eat in a day, she will certainly come to you for food... so don't give her food for a few days and I guarantee you she will be eating all the veges after that!

That should work, except you may land yourself in jail for neglecting your child or something!

Jen said...

I also wonder how my daughter sustains life. I like this idea!

Beck said...

My oldest child has lived on nothing but sulking and fumes for the last nine years, so don't ask me.

creative-type dad said...

Artist Unplugged -- That is an interesting idea. Kind of like Cracker Jacks. I never liked the stuff but would eat it just to get the cheap prize inside.

The Real Mother Hen -- That my not work with me. I'm sure social services already has a record on me after that poison control center- nail polish incident...

Gemini Girl said...

OMG- That made me laugh out loud!

mama speak said...

Both my girls are unbelieveable eaters, (knock on wood). So here's my 2 cents; Give them a little bit of whatever is for the meal. They have to eat the number of bites of each item as their age (if they're two then they have to have at least 2 bites). If she's not interested in eating that's fine; she still has to sit at the table till everyone has finished. Unfinished plate gets plastic wrap & if she wants a snack or something later the plate she didn't finish is what she gets offered. BTW, milk and juice can count as a snack. Most important is that you're really consistant.

She won't starve to death. She'll eat when she's hungry, just don't become a short order cook and make sure stick to your guns. Remember, you're the adult.

Amrita said...

hi Tony, Fatherr 's day greeting for you on my blog, have a look

Dad Stuff said...

Wow! I hope that doesn't happen to all of your dinner guests.

curious servant said...

I just read through your unarchived posts. Fun.

I like your sense of humor and writing voice.

The running KFC element is cool.

Found you via Amrita.

Thanks for the fun read.

wayabetty said...

Obviously you are not a good host since I don't see our favorite food on the table Tony! Where's da drumstick dude?

Ben & Bennie said...

The Colonel dropped out of the POTUS race????!!!!

carrie said...

Darn it! Well, it sounded like a pretty solid idea to me, I may just have to steal it to get my daughter to eat her dinner (because lately she's living off the radiation from the TV too).

Have a Happy Father's Day!

Maisie said...

Amrita mentioned you on her blog. Happy Father's Day. That's a cute idea of inviting the stuffed animal to the table. My kids always seemed to eat, but that's probably because I was always giving them chicken nuggets and hot dogs.

creative-type dad said...

wayabetty/Ben & Bennie -- Hey guys, I don't eat KFC every night for dinner. Only every other night.

Dad Stuff -- Actually, I didn't take a picture of the huge dumpster in the backyard...

mama speak -- Thanks for the advice. We do something similar to that and it gets mixed results. She does have to site at the table and wait until we're all done. That's starting to sink in her toddler self.

mamatulip said...

My son has this giant stuffed Elmo that is almost as big as he is. He loves the thing; sleeps hugging it every night and drags it everywhere. I usually draw the line at taking Elmo with us in the car, but I'm a "pick your battles" kind of mom and sometimes, it's not worth the argument.

It's the days when I forget to bring Elmo inside and run out to grab something from a drive-thru that are the best. People peer in to the back of my car and see this huge, screaming red Elmo strapped in to my daughter's car seat, then look back at me with a mixture of pity and concern.

womaninawindow said...

I make ethnically diverse and well balanced meals and we all sit down lovingly and eat to each other's good health while staring dreamily into each other's eyes. Ya, that's it. Oh, and I always put a veggie on the table for them to munch on while I'm cooking 'cause that's when they're really hungry and at least while holding dinner hostage they're getting something good in. (The 2nd one's for real.)

Mitch McDad said...

I've resigned to hanging donuts over their heads as sugary "carrots" if they eat their dinner. Sure it's not in the parenting books, but since when is bribery a bad thing.

Kristi said...

I love kids. Except when I don't.

Ok, Where Was I? said...

Those pictures are great. I love the last one.

creative-type dad said...

mamatulip -- That's awesome. I'm going out today to buy an Elmo as a seat filler too just for the weird stares.

Whit said...

I find that a few missed meals go a long way.

dennis said...

Do you think it was his dinner conversation??

Once I started serving leftover meals as the main course the following meal (re: Dinner becomes breakfast, that soggy mass of mushed oats becomes lunch, etc...) I found that the imps did not lack for appetites...

Tismee2 said...

My two both had a funny spell around that age. My eldest now 15 never got out of it and still only eats Weetabix, Pasta and McDonalds - although quite likes a Sirloin steak now and again. The youngest now 5 just went back to eating anything pretty much.
neither have suffered from it. Just go with the flow, don't make a big deal.
I like the dog bowl idea!

Steph in AK said...

I'm thinking we need a Father's Day report! :)

Manager Mom said...

My son, as far as I can determine, has eaten approximately one apple and half of a hot dog in his 5 years on this planet.

I used to stress about it. Now I put the food on the table. and if he eats, he eats. if he doesn't, he goes to bed hungry and has extra Cheerios the next day...

creative-type dad said...

Manager Mom -- Wow, half a hot dog is pretty good. Obviously you have magic powers.

Steph in AK -- Yes, it's coming...

dennis -- I never thought about it....maybe.

bbs said...

Funny... not your problem, rather the fate of Mr. L.B.

we have the exact opposite problem. If we don't watch my daughter, she'd likely clean the pantry out :)

CRUSTYBEEF said...

Great idea!! Until it goes to the filing cabinet..
but I'm going to borrow it until ours has the same demise..
thanks for the tip!!!

Maybe the pup wouldn't share his food with her? :)

always,
Crusty~

Leslie said...

LOL! That's hilarious. My daughter will eat, but sometimes she is picky and says "Mommy, I don't want it!"

creative-type dad said...

CRUSTYBEEF -- No, I'm pretty sure she didn't like his politics.

She's pretty vocal for a 2-year old.