This post is dedicated to the ways we’ve gotten Miles to eat when he’s being a little difficult. Sometimes it’s hard for moms to accept that when their kid is finally hungry, they will eat what you give them. I get so frustrated when he won’t eat, even though I know this, AND I know he’s not wasting away! I’ve had about 5 ways I can think of that I’ve had mild or great success with when those more picky times pop up before or during a meal.
- Act like I’m preparing it for myself and he gets curious and demands some for himself. “Oh, okay sweetie, you can share mommy’s food! It looks so good, doesn’t it!?” Mwahahahahahaha! My evil plan worked!!!! (This time!)
- Tell him if he eats all (or most- I leave room for negotiating later on cause I’m a softie) of something in his meal he can have one piece of candy or a cookie. Sometimes bribery needs to be dealt.
- Tell him “Eat first, then play” or whatever he’s clamoring to do as I’m trying to get him to eat his meal. He usually repeats it and then reminds me of it as he’s eating and finishing up. It works for naps many times, too. “Sleep first, then grandma’s house!” He tends to accept that well many times and does what I need him to do.
- Get out a fork and pick up a piece of the food on his plate and say “On 3, we’ll both take a bite, sound good?” Many times this works cause it’s kind of a game and I’m doing it with him-it seems to hold his interest.
- Act really excited about the meal and keep saying how yummy it is in front of him.
All these things have worked at one time or another, but not EVERY time, unfortunately. I have to keep on my toes and think fast sometimes and I lose some of those battles! It’s also a little different from stage to stage of eating for kids, for instance, Miles would eat anything and everything pretty much as a baby, but at about 1-1/2 years old he started throwing me off with not eating some things he was normally eating, then around 2 completely kicked veggies to the curb. Now he’s accepted some veggies again (mostly green minus peas), but fruit has hardly ever been a problem for him (I don’t blame him)!
I never make him clean his plate. He will if he’s truly hungry and sometimes asks for more of something. If he really refuses something though, I don’t force him (though every fiber of my mom-being wants to). He just won’t get a treat/dessert (if one was promised or talked about as in #2 on my list), or maybe just a small healthy snack if I think he really is still hungry. I know cleaning your plate was the thing to do back in the day, but now I find I still feel the need to do so, even when it’s a massive portion I don’t need. I don’t feel the need to engrain that in Miles’ head. I do talk to him about not wasting food, and many times we are able to save what he doesn’t eat and try it again for another meal, so I feel much better about that.
Every kid is different in what tactics they might go for, but any tips from all veterans are welcome, I’m sure we can all benefit from lots of ideas to try! I’m only knowledgeable of one kid up to age 2-1/2 (plus another one I babysit for 2-3 days a week for well over a year now) so I know some of you other more experienced moms/caregivers have some tricks up your sleeve! Spill it!
What ways have you tried to get your kid(s) to eat their meals and had success at least part of the time?