It wasn’t too long ago when the Princess and I did battle in the ring with Five Rounds at Dinner Time! I wish I could say that things have improved but alas they haven’t. Hubby and I have tried almost everything. From time-out to negotiating “one more bite”, Princess has a certain will power to dominate meal times.
I definitely don’t make her eat foods I know she hates but the rule is, if there is something new served, you have to try at least one bite. The Princess is rather particular with her menu. She hates eggs, and I am not even sure hate is even strong enough to describe her disgust for eggs. She likes her cereal without milk, don’t even bother giving her oatmeal ( and who can blame her, blech, that stuff is gross), she doesn’t like roast beef deli meat and don’t even bother putting mustard on her sandwiches, mayonnaise only. She dislikes mushrooms and green beans, but pretty much everything else she’ll try. It seems like her battle with dinner isn’t about the food, but to see how much she can get away with.
“How many more bites?” is a pretty common question at dinner time but Hubby and I have had enough. We have tried time-out, leaving the table if she does not eat within a reasonable time, negotiate, and tell her “there are people who go without don’t you know.” Nothing seemed to work. If we fought her on dinner, she’d put herself to bed 2 hours before her actual bedtime in defiance. If we negotiated bites, she still asked for dessert and if we refused, a full on temper tantrum ensued.
Frustrated with mealtimes, I found some very helpful mealtime tips that have really helped. The Canadian Medical Association Baby & Child Health suggests taking the battle out of dinnertime. They suggest only giving 1 tablespoon of food per year of your child’s age and always recommend giving less and letting your child ask for more. If your child refuses, don’t make them eat, but state that they are not allowed to leave the table until everyone at the table is finished. No more fighting, arguing or negotiating, make dinnertime less of a battle. If after the meal they state they are hungry, snacks and desserts are not an option, but instead offer them the food they refused. Remove any snacks in between meals if finishing their larger meals becomes an issue. So far this has worked and meals haven’t been as bad. Hubby and I aren’t frustrated and the Princess is definitely missing out on desserts and snacks. I have removed sugary treats from her lunch and replaced them with healthier options so she only has an all healthy lunch. Meals are becoming more of a family time and less of Battleground Zero.