What to do when your child just won't eat?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by vfem, Dec 2, 2010.

  1. vfem

    vfem Yoga...The Chicken Pose

    Aug 4, 2008
    Fuquay Varina, NC
    This is literally EVERYDAY... and every meal too!

    It starts in the morning with Breakfast... I say she needs to eat breakfast so we can go here, or do this, or play that. She'll ask for waffles, or eggs or cereal. Sometimes I let her chose sometimes its my choice. No matter WHAT we give her, she'll sit and play with it for 1, 2 even 3 hours. Then if I try to take it away she screams she wants to eat it, and I have to give it back. Sometimes she'll eat half if I'm lucky....

    She'll ask for snacks 100 x a day. I no longer give her any snacks... she has to wait to eat at the next meal only now. So lunch comes around, like today (luckily this morning she ate 1 whole waffle in less then 30 minutes). So 3 hours ago I give her pasta with sauce and some left over turkey in the sauce (chicken as she says). She's taken 2 bites... if that... I try to take it, she wants it back. She sits and mixes it and sings to herself all this time and doesn't eat. We literally have spent 1/2 the day at the kitchen table not eating. She wanted to play arts and crafts stuff today and I told her not until lunch was done... I was going to take her to the library... and still here we sit and she won't eat and she won't give me the bowl back because she's not done!

    I've set timers at dinner, and when it beats dinner is over, whether she's eaten or not. We took away ALL snacks all day. We let her pick dinner... we've taken the right for her to pick dinner away. She's in her room punished right now because I'm at wits end.

    And here it is less then 2 hours from dinner time and we'll have to go through this again.

    I'm letting her down to just get her shoes on so we can goto the library and return these books and movies. I'm not letting her get anymore.

    How do I correct this behavior or actually get her to eat? I can not possibly sit for hours on end every meal waiting for her to do something with it. She's about to turn 4, so she doesn't get the idea of time yet!
  2. debilorrah

    debilorrah The Great Guru of Yap Premium Member

    Breakfast - 30 minutes

    Lunch - 30 minutes

    Dinner - 1 hour

    PERIOD! Take the food, let her holler. Ken went through that with his oldest daughter. This method was the only thing that worked, and it still took about a month. Eventually she realized she was more interested in eating than playing with it.
  3. Nekhebet

    Nekhebet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2010
    You know what? It's a phase. My daughter did the same thing at that age...it was super frustrating to have her sit at the table for hours when she refused to eat dinner.
    that didn't work.
    And amazingly, she'd always have room for a favorite or something special...she did it for years, having "stomach aches" when it was something she didn't want to eat because "I don't like the red things!!!!" "What are the red things?" (silence)....

    Anyway...I hate to say it, but: she'll eat when she gets hungry enough. Having given her snacks outside of the regular snack schedule, well that will just prolong things. [​IMG]

    I'm not trying to be harsh, but you know, been there, done that. Have some strength, and you'll see her eating soon enough.
  4. acid_chipmunk

    acid_chipmunk Polish Silkies d'Uccles O my!

    Mar 29, 2010
    I go thru that with my kids sometimes. We have set rules in our house. 1) you eat what we make or you can go to bed hungry 2) if you decide to go to bed hungry, be aware that your food will be waiting for you in the fridge for the next meal, be it breakfast or whatnot 3) there is a timer set once they start messing around. If they aren't done when the timer goes off, they are done no matter what.

    Number 2 has been especially helpful to us, not that we make things they don't like, but they just throw fits sometimes.
  5. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    Sometimes kids go through a phase where they seem to live on "air."

    If it were me, I would allow 45 minutes or so for meal time, with a timer for assistance. And then I would remove the food.

    But at that age, I would continue three snacks a day (timed for maybe 10 minutes). I would offer a snack between breakfast and lunch, and one between lunch and dinner. Also another snack right before brushing teeth.

    I have found that my kids at that age REALLY needed snacks.

    If you go through the routine, offering healthy foods several times a day, you are doing well! I would monitor her weight, and call the Pediatrician if you are concerned about weight loss or gain over a period of time.

    My kids still don't like sauce. They like spaghetti noodles with olive oil and a little salt. I always put some pasta to the side for them before adding sauce.
  6. Orchid

    Orchid Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    North Central MN

    Set a timer on the table, the kind that ticks. Even an almost four year old will be able to see when the timer is getting close to going off.
  7. Nekhebet

    Nekhebet Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 25, 2010
    Quote:snacks: apples, graham crackers...string cheese, raisins....

    I agree she should still have snacks, but a time limit is definitely in order. And "extra" snacks shouldn't be the rule, especially if she isn't eating her meals.
  8. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    Eating is a power struggle you just can't win. So don't try. Arguing with a child is an exercise in futility so don't do that, either. A simple no, said once, is enough.

    Just serve her at meal times. Period. When the meal is over, pick up the plates and clear the table. If she howls, let her. Don't punish her for not eating. Don't mention it at all. Don't react to how much she does or doesn't eat. No snacks either. A kid is not going to starve to death even if she doesn't eat for a couple days. If you want to do whatever after meal time, just go ahead and do it after meal time whether she has eaten or not. You didn't mention how old this child is, but at certain ages children don't need much food. If she continues not to eat and starts to lose a significant amount of weight, then she may need a physical exam. But my guess is that if her hunger strike fails to result in any sort of drama, she will find another more interesting way to drive you crazy.
  9. purr

    purr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 30, 2008
    east freetown, ma
    I have vivid memories of sitting at the table for hrs crying because I wasn't aloud to get up until I had eaten my meat, I don't like the texture and I was badly anemic. I used to sneak it to my dog but then my mother would put the dog outside. The dr finely told my mother even if she got me to chew it ,I would get some of the nutrients. But I hated the texture. So we fought every meal. It made my life miserable, She will thank you as she gets older for giving her the option to leave the table. Maybe its a texture thing , try different types of food.
  10. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    Ooops!! You did mention how old she is. I missed it.

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