Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Two Reasons to Start Posting Again...

Owen and Eli.

They turned two less than two months ago and we are in the depths of power struggles, tantrums and control issues. The biggest issue we've been dealing with lately occurs every night at dinnertime. They hate their highchairs/being strapped down but they don't want to sit in a seat like a big boy. They have suddenly become uber-picky eaters too. They will literally put both hands over their mouths to block the food while they shake their heads back and forth in refusal. The infuriating thing is that they have to be hungry!

We're trying to figure out how to handle dinnertime without turning it into a power struggle. If they won't eat, do we just take the food away and make them go to bed hungry? Should they go straight to bed or be allowed to play? Should we give them their dinner at breakfast until they finally eat it? I don't want to be super stubborn about this, but I will not make toddler-popular dinners for them just because they won't eat what we're having. I want us to enjoy eating dinner together and right now, it is not an enjoyable time.

Please tell me that we're not the only ones with picky eaters. What do you do? What strategies have you tried that have worked or failed? What's the hardest you've ever come down on your kids over a power struggle issue? I know that trying to force them to do anything makes them 100% less likely to do it - so what are my options? Comment Comment Comment!!


Janice said...

I really think that the less you act like you care about it, then the less motivated they are try to make it a power struggle or say no. This was true with my own recent potty training issues. I think it really wouldn't take long before they got hungry enough to eat what you served them. I really think I would try just letting them go to bed hungry and then serving the same meal for breakfast and then lunch if you need to. That's probably the only way they will learn that you are actually the one in control and you won't reward their stubborness with special meals.

Unknown said...

I am sorry this is such a struggle. Out of my 4, I have one VERY picky eater. I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but he just turned 7 (the pickiness started around 2). It is probably the most stressful thing I have dealt with. Sometimes I let him not eat (but NO snacking or eating of any kind...unless it is the dinner he refused, you'd be surprised at how many times he comes back to eat). I try to cook things I know he likes, but he changes his mind so quickly. I haven't done much of the 'dinner for breakfast' because it kind of grosses me out (I'm not one to eat cold pizza for breakfast, if you know what I mean). I know me saying it gets better doesn't help much...it has taken 5 years for Ethan. I tried to do everything right to make him a 'good eater'...I made his baby food, lots of variety, organic...and he is the picky one! Just like everything, you will find what works for your kids. My pediatrician always told me that he would eventually come around (the grandmothers nearly drove me crazy, because not only is he picky but skinny too) I will say that mine LOVE/D the wooden 'high chairs' we got them to transition out of the 'baby high chairs'.

Also look at the timing of snacks in the afternoon, maybe try dinner a bit earlier & eliminate a snack?

Trisha said...

This is our battle every night. For awhile he would refuse to eat anything and then we would excuse him and he wouldn't get snacks or anything else to eat and he would go to bed (normal time) without dinner. About a month ago he has started to eat a bit more. Our rule is that he has to at least to try a few bites before he gets down. Still no snacks unless he eats all of his dinner. I am hoping it gets better with time. Just hang in there.

Jennifer said...

Beth, hang in there!
I agree with the other 3 posts.
If they think they can "push" u around now, when will it change... so keep your foot down. A pedi told melissa's friend that a child can go 2 weeks without eating.. when she asked him about her picky eater... (not saying you will have to do that... ) but the twins will eat if they are hungry enough.
A few tricks you can try...
- try giving the "tough to eat" foods at lunch. like the veggies and other healthy foods
- you can hide veggies in their breakfast foods too! Sweet Potato Pancakes are super easy to make!
This way you dont feel as "guilty" or "torn" when they wont eat their dinners.
A great cookbook for picky eaters is Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld! you can get it on Amazon for cheap! I have it and the recipes are great and super easy!
Hang in there and give me a call

Jennifer said...

Cauliflower Scrambled Eggs for breakfast as well... YOU CANNOT taste the cauliflower! I swear!

Shaloma said...

Zeke is pretty picky sometimes. I think it's more of a power struggle for him. He wants to make some decisions and this is one he knows we can't 'force'. We just put his plate in front of him and if he doesn't eat, he doesn't get a snack until breakfast time. We don't force him to eat his dinner for breakfast, but the next meal he refuses to eat again he doesn't get a snack until the next meal. We just make sure he eats his vitamin. Some meals he eats as much as I would eat and some meals he doesn't eat at all. I just figure he's in a phase and will eventually even out. Whatever you decide works best for your family is the best answer.

suzannah | the smitten word said...

i hear ya, girl!

d ate anything as a babe and then got picky, and she'll refuse things out of sheer stubbornness that she'll gobble every other day.

1. we make her try everything.

2. if she won't eat, we don't try to make her, but i will put the plate away for "snack" later (and not offer other foods or treats). jim and i had to get on the same page w this. he wanted to force her more, but i didn't think it was helpful--and it was ruining our only adult/family time!

3. we don't do short-order toddler meals either, but i will occasionally offer a side we wouldn't otherwise eat w dinner--yogurt, applesauce, grapes.

hang in there:)

suzannah | the smitten word said...

also, we don't hold anything until the next day. even if dylan is "done," she sits w/ us until she is excused. then she can play. we don't punish not being a cooperative eater, but we won't give snacks.

it can be maddening, but i think a more laid back approach helps us. good luck!

Rachelle said...

My 25month old is crazy picky about what he eats and has been since we introduced food. To add insult to injury, he was only in the 4th percentile for weight at 15 months. That can really stress a mom out!!!!

He is now back into the 9th percentile for weight at 24 months. Meals have become a bit less of a battle, but it is still hard. I try to remember that my son likes room to breathe.... he likes to have a couple of options given to him.

Now, I give him something that I would like him to *try* (if he has one bite and doesn't like it, that is fine, he doesn't need to finish it). But now I put of options out on the plate. I pick a few things I know he won't eat, a few things he will eat if he has too (salad fixings) and a few things he will eat (popcorn chicken, pumpkin bread, yogurt, cheese, spoonfuls of peanut butter). I put the things he will eat only if he has to first... veggies ect... that way he can eat those if he is really hungry. If he has made some headway there, then I ask him to take a bite of the stuff he hates (aka, anything new) and tell him he has to try it before he gets anything else. Then I give him what I know he likes. We only do this at dinner time. Lunch time, well I *try* to hold firm to whatever I give him and nothing else.

It is really hard and I find myself bargaining more than I would like (if you take a bite of this, then you can have a (whatever he likes yogurt ect). Is it good? Is it bad? I am not sure, but right now it seems to be working.... I see him trying new things by himself (spinach!!). I think his biology says he will be light (it runs in the family), so now I just go for encouraging him to try healthy things and eat them if he likes.

Who ever thought getting kids to eat would be so hard???