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My little boy is 10 months old, and he will ONLY eat if I basically sit with the plate in front of me, pretending its for me and pretending to ignore him. Then he'll sidle up and start picking food off the plate.

i have 5 kids.... my youngest isabella eats barely enough to survive... i never forced food on my kids.... they will eat when they are hungry... my pediatrician.. who i have been going to for 24 years... tells me all the time... not to worry so much about what they eat... as long as they eat... all five are healthy... my oldest is 24... then 20.... 17....13 and 5.... gina

My son is 10 months old, so I guess it's pretty early yet, but I feed him three "meals " a day and a couple snacks. I just put little bits out at a time and if he wants to eat, he will.

I remember hearing that small children need a ridiculously small amount of food to survive so I try not to worry. Plus, he still drinks milk so I guess I figure it will all work out in the end.

As for being the entertainment, I do that too, but only a little bit- I'm not as patient as you seem to be and I am easily distracted by other things.

Of course it's easy to be blasé when he's a fairly easy eater, it will probably be a whole different story when he asserts his independence more!

I can relate to this. My son is 16 mths old and he needs entertainment in order to eat. I don't provide the circus but there is a neverending supply of playthings to take his mind off the eating and yes I do worry about nutrition. Another thing is I'd love to find something he loves to eat and is enthusiastic about but as yet I haven't found it. I do notice though that when I am out and around other children - he is more interested in their snacks than the ones I have packed for him. It makes him look like a cadger and it is a little embarrassing. I am thinking please, come eat your Russian alphabet bread or even your animal biscuits or evem an apple etc but nope - he is more interested in what someone else is getting to eat. Just like when we go to the swimming pool and I have a bag packed full of his toys to play with in the child pool. He wants what someone else has to play with and no doubt they will have some problem with sharing and so when he goes to play with something - they will come a rushing to grab it off him. Frustrating all of this sometimes but I guess I also have to 'just relax'..

I like the Dr. Sears approach. My job is to provide a variety of healthy food. My kids' job is to decide what & how much to eat. If they are hungry, they will eat.

My nearly-one-year-old daughter is a good eater, most of the time. I taught her the sign for "more" and lately she seems to be using it instead of "eat" when she's hungry. I'll be changing her diaper and she'll start saying "more more more" so I know it's time to give her something to eat. That has eliminated a lot of the "is she getting enough" stress. Your kids are talking, so they can ask you if they are truly hungry.

Have you tried giving them choices? "You can have cereal or scrambled eggs... Which would you like?" Giving them some control may help. Make sure that both choices are things that you're willing to follow through with. You don't want to offer macaroni and cheese or filet mignon if you're fresh out of macaroni. :)

Letting them "help" you make the meal may help, too. You might have to get creative to find ways that they can help without making a mess, but you're creative. It sounds like they like to mix...

My mom used to make one meal for the family ("I am NOT a short order cook!") and if we didn't want it or didn't like it, we could have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Once we were old enough, we had to make the sandwich (and clean up our mess) ourselves. I remember doing that very few times, growing up, mostly when she had made fish. 'Course, it helps that my mom's a great cook.

I always offer fruit if my daughter's not eating well. She loves fruit and will always eat it. It's sweet, and it tastes like a treat. When she's older we'll start the PB&J rule.

Good luck!

Red lights and warning bells are going off all around me as I read this...
GOOD. (for me anyway)
If they depend on being entertained, nay, DEMAND being entertained, in order to do what people do when they are merely hungry? You have worked yourself into a bit of a corner.

I come from the 'they'll eat when they are hungry' school, so this is foreign to me.

Then again - I am also from the
'if it works for you' school.

They are eating.
You are happy.

Leave it alone.

I really don't worry too much about how much they eat. They won't starve themselves. Eventually, they will eat. I used to (my kids are a bit older now - 4 and 3, I am talking about when they were A & K's age) feed a meal every 4 hours - 8, 12, 4 and a snack before bed. It made me feel better to know if they were going to be assholes about it at 8, they weren't going to wait very long for the next chance to eat.

That said, my son is a bit of a picky eater and my problem isn't that he doesn't eat enough or the right foods, its that we spend quite a bit of time at my parents house who, like Marko, love to give treats. Why would he eat crappy old salmon or vegtables if Nanie will eventually give him a cookie? Eh, what can you do?

I do remember being a bit of a one woman circus to keep their attention but I have a pretty low tolerance for that so if it became more than just drawing their attention back to the spoon, I called it a day.

Not to be preachy or tell you how to do things in your house but Adam and Kate are around 15 mos or so now, right? I bet you could cut people food really small and just leave it on their trays, let them do the work. I think they are probably old enough for that (of course, you know best). Maybe worth a shot?

I believe the "rule" on the amount they need at one meal is a walnut (walnut in the shell) sized portion for every year of age they are. It's a control issue for little kids. I wouldn't worry about it too much. And I, for one, wouldn't provide the entertainment. Toys in the high chair are ok, but would I stand on my head to get my kids to eat? No way. I offer the food, then if they aren't eating after a while, or are simply playing, then mealtime is over. Try again at the next meal, or provide a decent snack in beween. But this is just what works for me.

Ha! I love any topic where I can get up on my self-righteous soap box. :-D So I will try not to do that but I know my foot will involuntarily creep towards said box. I (so far) have one son, 6 years old. I b/f'd him exclusively for awhile and fretted madly that he wasn't eating enough/long enough/from each side/etc. He went from 8 lbs. at birth to 14 lbs. at 2 months only on breastmilk. So huh. And all that story is just to build up to my next attitude on eating: After watching many friends living nightmarish picky toddler lives, I decided to heck with it, my son would eat what I gave him and that was that. And most of the time he did/does that, and sometimes he won't. I will give him healthy snacks inbetween meals, but not too close to meals. And also as he's gotten older, I make him at least *try* something I put on his plate. Probably since he was 3 1/2, I have cooked ONE meal for the whole family. And both my attitude and his general good eating have worked well with this method. I *know* there are kids with real eating problems, sensory stuff, FTT, and that's DIFFERENT and I understand. But I think (on soap box now) some toddler pickiness is encouraged by parents that pander to them. I have seen friends do it! "OH, Bobby doesn't like the banana! Give him more Goldfish!" I have a friend whose boy survived on Goldfish, fruit gummies, and hot dogs for YEARS! So is there any assvice buried in here? Not sure. If the song-and-dance routine is wearing you out, I'd suggest gradually tap dancing less, and eventually K & A will figure out they have to eat even if mommy doesn't entertain. They may put their noses up at a few meals, but if they are healthy-sized kiddos, it won't hurt them. They won't starve!

I come from the "if they are hungry enough, they will eat it" school. My boys learned early on that you either eat what is served and when it is served or it is a long time (for them) until the next meal (5 meals a day). My youngest is 21 months old and he knows - you eat what is in front of you. Of course, he has built-in entertainment at every meal in the form of his older brother LOL. My older son, now 6, went through that whole "I'm only eating chicken nuggets" phase for about 4 days before he realized I meant business and wasn't going to feed him a "special" meal just to get him to eat. He liked green beans last week, he can like them again this week.

Anyway, that's just my opinion and how I run my drill-sergeantish household...may not work for yours - just letting you know what I do! :-)

After talking to a few moms at lunch the other day (the first time I've done this in AGES), I found out we all do. We all chase them around, we all try to hide things in casseroles, we all bargain, and we all obsess about it.

That and the napping - someone should really warn you when you have kids.

Are you still feeding them yourself? They are old enough to feed themselves and many toddlers do not want to be fed but will readily feed themselves. And it is true that serving sizes for toddlers is REDICULOUSLY small. Like, how can they survive small. But it truly is enough! A serving size of meat is the size of one (yes, ONE) nine-volt battery! I have a paper on the serving sizes from our nutrition place at work.

I do not have kids, but run the one year old room at my daycare, so I work w/ kids the twins age. I do not have time to cajoll every kid into eating every lunch. I encourage them, but they eat or dont, their problem *shrug*

your kids are celebrities already. i'm shocked they don't have movie contracts.

Umm, if it works for you, OK. But I am imagining the "sideshow" will get a bit old for you in the not too distant future. There are two issues I see with mealtimes: 1) food getting eaten and 2) instilling the pattern of sitting at the table together during mealtimes.

I do very little to make my 2 (almost 2.5) year old daughter eat. She has never been the greatest eater. I provide her wtih healthy foods (I try to make it at least 1 or 2 things I know she will eat) and leave it at that. I did start to limit her milk consumption at 18 months to encourage eating solid food, but that is about it.

But I do not have the patience to entertain her (much). And to be honest I want to preserve the fiction that mealtime is for eating, not playing (ha ha ha but I do try). That is not to say we don't sometimes have toys at the table -- but I try to keep it at one or two and to be eating myself (something) so she gets the idea that it is a mealtime.

When my daughter was about the age of your two we took the tray off her high chair and pushed it up to the table. Great idea. She now talks about "family dinner" which we don't have every day, but at least we're working on it.

Anyway, just my 2 cents on it. The children are gorgeous and adorable and I'm sure you'll figure out what works for you if you get sick of the current system!

I did the song and dance with colicboy. And now at age 3.5, he STILL wants me to help him eat by spoon-feeding him stuff sometimes. Mostly he'll do it himself now, but some days...

I swore up and down with my second (Mellowgirl) that I wouldn't make the same mistake. So far, at age 9 months, if she won't eat, then I'm done. I won't dance and sing to get her to open her mouth for the spoon. If she's hungry, she's hungry. She'll figure it out.

If it works for you, T, go ahead. But if you are doing it now, you'll likely be doing it at age 3, too. If you don't want that, learn from my mistake and stop doing it. They'll refuse to eat for several meals, for sure. But the hunger-survival thing will kick in. They will NOT starve themselves to death. Trust me. And do not let anyone, including Marko, give them treats during this time of "weaning off of mealtime entertainment". That will undermine the whole thing.

It's like sleep training. You hate to do it...but...should you be entertaining them to eat food?

Good luck!

I'm at the far end of the lackadaisical spectrum, so take what I say with a grain of salt... I'm a little surprised to hear you're still spoon-feeding the kiddos, to be honest. Surely they can finger-food feed themselves and make an approximation with a spoon + fingers for non-finger-food items?

If you were asking for advice (not sure if you are), I would say ... ditch the toys and super-entertainment routine. It is not your job to coddle children into eating. Unless they have some sort of sensory disorder, or a health problem, they are perfectly capable of self-regulating food intake. Put out reasonably good food for a reasonable period of time, and then put it away. If they chuck food, eating time is done! It is normal for toddler appetites to wax and wane, and some days you will wonder how it is possible for them to bounce off the walls on only 10 calories, but very very few children are so stubborn as to starve themselves. Malnourishment ... eh, your kids are probably fine on this count too. Try to think of their consumption as averaged over a week or two, and don't worry about a day where they eat only grapes, chocolate milk, and potato chips.

In my (unsolicited) opinion, one of the most annoying things to watch is kids who manipulate their parents during mealtimes. I am currently babysitting a little boy who has a HUGE song and dance he goes through with his mom and dad. He tried it here for months before I convinced him that I wasn't going to play. Now, he sits at my table and eats his food. No complaints, no dilly-dallying, no games. When his mom is present it is all about tears, cajoling, begging, fighting, negoiating ... ugh.

I do this all.the.time. Even with my second child, although it is much less. I imagine it's simply because I have less time/patience/energy and not because I stress less about her not getting enough nutrients or enough to eat etc.

There comes a point when I will not spoondfeed our older child anymore but every now and again I'm still feeding him (he's 3 for god's sake) coz I'm still paranoid that his growth will be stunted if he doesn't eat enough.. well. someday. hopefully before he leaves for college.

My fella's are 12 months old and I worry about what I am feeding them and how much all the time. I suppose it only gets worse!

Take care

I had the same experience in my daycare as Rachel H.

Are you still spoon feeding them because of the mess? Then you're cheating them out of a new learning experience with food. There's plenty of finger foods available that aren't sloppy gooey messy, and they have a bath at the end of the day.

The best thing you can do is ignore their eating habits. Parents are the #1 source of eating problems. If mama/papa are a source of entertainment - of course they're gonna not pay attention to food. At their age, they are perfectly capable of telling you when they're hungry. All the suggestions above are great. Just serve the food and ignore it. Mom and Dad need to model eating too. Don't react to the mess - that's attention they'll seek out next time, even it it's negative attention.

Oh God I couldn't do that, good on you for having the patience. My daughter (17 months) feeds herself and I figure if she's hungry she'll eat. I try to have one thing handy that she usually likes so if she doesn't like what my husband and I are eating I can easily offer an alternative (like rice, pasta, or some kind of fruit). I only offer the alternative once though. The only time I spoon/fork-feed her is when she's eating something tricky like rice and is really hungry and can't shovel it in fast enough. Some days she eats a lot, sometimes a "normal" amount, and some days hardly anything. I figure it all balances out. On days when she seems to be eating less (teething, just distracted etc) I offer extra milk and leave it at that.

Well, my husband and I did the whole 'song and dance' routine when our daughter first switched from just breast milk. Basically when it was baby cereal and baby food. Once she started on solids, even that didn't work anymore! If she wants to eat, she will, otherwise nothing we do makes a difference. I used to fight with her practically every meal and we would both end up in tears, then I did a bunch of research and it seems the general consensus is that kids will eat when they are hungry and doing things to coerce them into eating doesn't teach them to have a proper relationship with food. With me, my daughter was learning to associate food with anger, with you they possibly are learning that they need to be entertained to eat. My daughter will be 2 in 8 days and as much as I sometimes want to force food into her, I try to just take a few seconds to collect my thoughts and calmly tell her that if she isn't hungry, then so be it. I'll offer her a few choices for each meal and if she doesn't want any of it, okay. She has skipped many meals and she hasn't starved yet! I do, however, tend to feed her rather than her feeding herself. She has such a hard time with spoons!

Anyways, after all that possibly not needed info, it comes down to this - my thought is that it would be a good idea to encourage them to eat in other ways than you entertaining them. Since there are 2 of them, maybe you could make it a game to see who can eat more of said food. Or they could even feed eachother - my daughter absolutely loves feeding us and her little friends! Just some thoughts..... in the end, they are your kids and mother always knows best!

Are you still feeding them? That may be the change you need to make, self feeding. My son is slightly younger than Adam and Kate and I haven't fed him for months. It's messy, v messy, but there are no power struggles at mealtime and he eats well most of the time.

I see a common thread in these comments- Let them feed themselves now, or you'll be doing it for a lo-o-og time. Pull their high chairs up to the table, fill everyone's plate and let them dig in. They should be feeding themselves now and family dinners are important. However, like everything else, what works for you, works for you. You are right, they won't starve. I'll bet they will tell you if they are hungry too!

You're going to have to stop sooner or later, and why not sooner??? You're not doing them any favours, not letting them handle this themselves. Plop 'em in their high chairs, give 'em their food, and leave them for awhile. LEAVE.

As many of us have said - they won't starve themselves.

Well, before my son was born... (obviously, you recognize that idealist crap is to follow, right?)...I swore I wouldn't let my kid be a picky eater. I would offer him three meals a day and if he ate them, fine, if not he could wait til the next meal. I *might* have even done something close to that, but then at about 6 months old(still on bm only) my son fell into the lower end of charts. He's in the 5th% for weight, and 10th for height. I just can't let him go hungry being that small. So, I do fix him a second meal if he rejects the first. But...if he rejects the 2nd, then he's on his own. Really.

Don't let Marco give them crap and don't worry if they don't eat too much - they will eventually eat.. The main thing is don't let it turn into a power struggle :)

I agree that it would be good to move into the area of letting them have control of whether to eat and how much. I wonder if you might want to explore your feelings about what feeding them means to you emotionally. I have a former preemie, and they warned me about "vulnerable child syndrome," where the parents are too scared to let the kid experience the normal bumps and bruises of growing up, and so tend to do too much for the child and not let the child take any risks or experience any discomfort (such as hunger :-)). With all you have been through to have them, maybe something similar is going on?

Do you feel like you are maybe scared to let go of control on their eating? No criticism meant; you have certainly been through a lot and I totally empathize if you do in fact feel scared to let them decide to NOT eat sometimes.

Another thing to consider is the fact that they will learn they have this incredible power over you -- all they have to do to totally make you crazy is refuse to eat, and this can turn into a nightmare.

No healthy child will become malnourished if a variety of foods are presented on a regular basis, and the parent lets the child regulate their own eating. They are really incredible at reading their own hunger and satiety cues; my kids for example will stop in the middle of a bowl of ice cream or piece of cake when full, and devour a whole plate of broccoli if hungry. As an overweight person with a history of eating disorders, I totally envy this in children!

I have a 2 and a 4 year old. Since they each were about 1 1/2 years old, I have been putting 3 or 4 different types of food on their plates (veggies, fruits, starch, proteins, etc) at each meal and letting them eat what they choose. When meal time is over, I take away what they haven't eaten and try not to stress about it. Sometimes they eat everything and ask for more, sometimes they eat nothing at all.

I think your kids might be training you for entertainment's sake. Smart kids.

With my oldest son, he went through this stage where he would only eat cheese curls. Seriously, that's ALL he would eat. Of course I took him to the pediatrician and he said that as long as he was eating SOMETHING and drinking milk, he'd be fine. Now he is 7 and will eat anything, he isn't picky at all. My youngest is three (as of yesterday!) and he will eat a waffle or a peanut butter and marshmallow (the stuff that comes in a jar) sandwich. That's it for him. I can't wait for him to be out of this stage!

Maybe they're dairy or gluten intolerant? Sorry, couldn't resist! ;-) One thing that really helped with my 16 month old twins is more flavor. We often buy healthy, low sodium veggie soups to use as a base and mix them with pasta or brown rice. While it doesn't have a ton of salt, it does have herbs and spices, which they really seem to like. Kids are funny about texture and size of food too. One of my boys wants at least a half a banana at a time to cleave on, and his brother will eat little slices all day,but not thicker slices. We have a "no toys at the table" rule (they put them on the windowsill and when they're ready to be done eating, they point to the toy), but I often wonder if they'd put me away if they saw the song and dance I do for my boys. But secretly, I kind of enjoy it.


Didn't have time to read all the comments in detail but here are my thoughts. Kate and Adam sound like very clever kids and I have been observing how much a toddler can understand at a very young age even though they don't talk much yet (my son is 17 months).

I think they have figured out that they can get lots of entertainment from you so they play things that way.
Does Rose have to do all this at lunch??
I would actually try looking each one in the eyes and explain that you would like them to eat and that whatever they were given was what they were getting and they could only have more X after eating Y or whatever.
Just level with them and see what they do. It can't hurt to try right? Plus ask Rose what happens with her - something tells me they don't work her as hard as they do you when it comes to entertainment.

I don't have a lot of tricks up my sleve - still learning myself. I have found that when my so won't take another bit for me, I can often get another one if I let him feed himself with my help. He's been working on his spoon skills but still needs a lot more practice and it is always so messy when he does, we don't do it all the time.

Good luck!


Here's some assvice for you: Don't give them sweets. My son is 21 months old and the sweetest things he eats are fruits. Sometimes my husband gives him a donut when I'm not around, but that's not very often. And if he declines to eat what I put before him at meals, well, he gets nothing else to eat and the very same meal at dinner (which he usually eats, being very hungry by that time). By the way, I only serve the same meal twice...if he doesn't eat it the second time he still doesn't get anything else to eat but I serve something different at the next meal. Overall, he's a great eater--whenever I take him to visit my colleagues at work, they love to watch him eat his broccoli and spinach! How's that for assvice?

I'm incredibly thankful my 17 month old has never had problems eating. She eats EVERYTHING. She's on a ketchup kick, where she likes to dip everything in ketchup, but that's the most demanding she's been about any food-ish things.

Sorry T. I've got no advice.

My four and a half year old is a shocking eater. I've watched her give up food after food after starting out as a toddler who ate anything. She has issues with foods with textures (and I've always let her get elbow-deep, mess be damned so it's not that) and sticks to a few familiar things. I worry constantly that she's not getting enough, and not getting enough of the right foods. I tried the "she'll eat when she's hungry" but she's gone days without hardly any food like that and is so thin she can't afford to. So although I still make her try what I've cooked, I have to admit I end up supplementing with what she wants (you can have a peanut butter sandwich - after you've had a piece of this broccoli). I am like you and cannot bear the thought of my child going hungry, even for a few hours. I know what a disgusting feeling it is, and I'm not putting it on her.

On the other hand, my 2 year old eats anything we give him and is very laid back about the whole affair.

I agree with the others that you need to let the kids make a big mess and get into it themselves, but I'm in no position to give assvice about "being tougher" because I'm definitely not. One other bit of assvice though, multi-vitamins are a good way to make you feel better as a parent. Sort of an insurance policy!

I used to sing Old Mac Donald had a Farm when they first starting foods but that got old.

Now if my son starts throwing food he immediately gets put down from high chair.

Mine don't quite eat with utensils yet but are starting to get it but they eat fine with their fingers.

We dont' allow toys on their trays and they rarely get sweats other than fruit. My daughter does have a fixation with her blanket but it rests behind her head.

As with my singing - it stopped working and I never did anything else. If they don't want to eat, just let them down. They definitely won't starve. Mine know how to pound the fridge and let me know they want something which helps so I'm sure they'll find some way to let you know they are still hungry.

Good luck - feeding is hard - it does sound like you aren't happy with the situation and since kids constantly change - you can change too.

BTW I hate the spoon flinging food also - v v messy.

My daughter is a week younger than Adam and Kate, so I always enjoy reading what your two are doing/going through, knowing that we may be in the same boat shortly. She's a decent eater, and I don't do anything to entertain her while she eats. I am concerned about her getting enough, simply because she's always been small--around 3rd percentile for weight; 20 pounds at 18 months. (This is also probably a long-time holdover from her two weeks in the NICU, when we watched every calorie. I really must lose that...) So I'm uncomfortable just letting her skip a meal if she's not interested with what I initially offer. I'll usually offer 4 or 5 things until we hit on a couple that she feels like eating. That being said, what I'm usually offering is peas, corn, tomatoes, blueberries, sweet potato, asparagus, and other fruit and vegetables. If all else fails, I can always give her a plate of broccoli, one of her favorite foods.

She doesn't like most higher-calorie foods, such as pasta, rice, most breads, meat, milk, etc. She'll eat cheese sometimes and drink 4 or 5 ounces of milk a day, but then she loses interest. Getting calories into her can thus be a bit of a challenge. She loves french fries and fruit smoothies, but we only get those when we eat out so she doesn't come to expect them at home. And I usually don't keep cookies or other treats (besides Veggie Booty and dried fruit) around, so she doesn't get in the habit of eating them. This approach works for us, but all kids are different. I agree with what lots of other posters have said, that letting meals become a time of work and stress can just set you up for problems down the line. Find what works for you and your family and go with it!

My doctor once told me you can't control smooth muscle issues. That pretty much means you can't force them to eat and you can't force them to poop, so give it up now. Give them a nice variety of food and let them pick what they want. Give them a vitamin too, and relax. I am kind of militant about this, because my mother required us to clean our plates at every meal, even when it was something she knew we hated, and this has set me up for all kinds of issues with food today. I eat when I'm not hungry, don't realize I'm full, etc. I don't ever want to do that to my kids. They get healthy choices and eat what they want. And they're all tall and skinny and very, very healthy.

I'm with the if-they're-hungry-they'll-eat school. But I wasn't a stickler for mealtimes. I eat an afternoon snack if I'm starving, or eat supper early or late, so it didn't make sense to me to be a mealtime nazi. If the kid was hungry at 4:00, and I knew that if she ate she wouldn't want her supper, I just made sure she had a good snack. Apple slices and a peanut butter foldover, for instance. She still had to join us for supper with her plate in front of her.

Tertia, it sounds like you will have to train Marko too. Here's my unasked-for advice: If he gives them a potato chip at mealtime and they start crying for more, let them cry. It won't kill them. Just feed them as usual and maintain a calm demeanor. Eventually the cause-and-effect will occur to him and he'll stop.

Weighing in a bit late on this one - - -

I am of the opinion if it's working for you, no need to fix it, but this apparently isn't working for you (or at least is giving you reason to be concerned.)

I am, actually, surprised that you are still spoon-feeding them. They should be able to handle finger foods at this age.

I wonder if they act the same for Rose. It may be a case where since they CAN manipulate you, they will! (Kids are very good at this.)

I am also of the "if they're hungry, they'll eat" opinion. Dinner time should be a time to eat, not be entertained. If you approach it as such, I believe they will soon learn to eat without your having to turn cartwheels for them.

Our pediatrician told us that our job is to prepare and offer the food, Petunia's job is to eat it. We make what we make, and she can eat it or not eat it. I can tell you that a few times early in her toddler years (she's now almost 3) she didn't eat much because she was being picky. Well, by the next meal, broccoli (or whatever) didn't look so bad!

Just yesterday, she was in too foul a mood during lunch and wouldn't eat a bite, so she went down for a nap with nothing in her belly. She ate her weight at dinner to make up for it.

I will say, too, that our daughter is not picky and people are always amazed, but I think it's because we've never "catered" to her tastes. We make food that we like and she can eat it or not. Sometimes she will pick around things, but usually if she's hungry she'll try what's on her plate until she finds something that she likes. As a result, we have an almost-three-year-old who loves fish, shrimp, beans, cottage cheese, canteloupe, green beans, broccoli and brussels sprouts. Her favorite - and most requested - food is a turkey sandwich on wheat bread.

I would say that you have been given a lot of good advice.

Personally I get tired of trying to encourage food down, so instead of that I just say "Do you want X or Y" if there are two choices on the plate and if they don't pick one, I let them have some juice or water or whatever and try again. "Which one? Pick one!"

Usually if a kiddo is hungry they'll pick one, and this is good till they choose to eat on their own because food is the strongest reward for children under five generally speaking.

I remember reading somewhere that kids are very intuitive about what their body needs. Little kids eat when they need food. For practical reasons we try to get them to eat at three set times throughout the day-though I find it interesting that nutritionist recommend 5-10 small meals throughout the day as opposed to 3 big meals- the trick is getting them to be hungry at those times. Breakfast is pretty easy kids get up hungry. To adjust them to Lunch and Dinner I would recommend going a few days without snacks, this will help to build an appetite. If you kids don't want to eat at lunch time don't stress out they are not doing it to aggravate you they are just not hungry. Now probably sometime between lunch and dinner they will want to eat. This will be tough but don't feed them (they will not starve to death), even if they through the biggest tantrum ever. You will see that by the time dinner comes around they will have quite the appetite. After a week of this you should have them fairly adjusted and you can add a snack in-between each meal.


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