I expressed recently in Life With a Toddler… Is A Rollercoaster how my two year old toddler mealtimes were chaotic. At the time I wrote this post, I was at the highest point of tension with meals. We experienced various forms of expression during grace, he’d rather discuss all of the other things he would rather be eating than what I’ve prepared. Flying food was almost inevitable. A short few days later, I changed my attitude. I stopped fighting.
I have new mealtime habits:
Snacks now have to hold a significant portion of the daily nutritional needs. I would often allow a cookie, if requested but those little cookies helped fill that small tummy so there wasn’t much room for dinner.
Now, at the first sign of finished, he is dismissed. I don’t continue to bribe, convince or force feed. He’ll eat eventually and I’m the one in charge of his intake so I’ll be sure that when he wants something, it will be good for him and only a cookie on special occasions.
Anything that drops (intentionally) or flies and screaming mean early dismissal from the table.
Typing it out, it seems like this would have been the natural way to deal with toddler mealtime from the beginning. I realize now that my little guy went from eating everything I put in front of him to being too interested in everything else the world had to offer instead and less interest in food. He’ll now eat plenty of food one day and much less the next. It is true, children will not starve. I now roll with it and it works for us. Before I know it, my little guy will be sitting properly at the table and eating us out of house and home. No more mealtime stress for me. I should have thought of it sooner.