Thursday, March 17, 2011

The food games are over.

I've mentioned before how Oliver is a horrible eater. He'll take 2 bites and then refuse to eat anything else if that's his mood at the time, even if we're serving his favorites. Bribing him with tiny drinks of juice was the only way found to get any extra into him before he shut us down completely.

While we were away he took this expression of control over his life to new heights by going days on no more than a few french fries. We pretty much let him eat anything he wanted because we were just so happy to have something in his belly. Unfortunately that meant fries and the odd jam sandwich. I wasn't all that concerned that he wasn't eating because I knew he wasn't sick and it he would eventually eat enough to get him through. We are used dealing with his games and although it was worse than usual, it was the same old thing. Then we got home on the 3rd. Within an hour of being in the house, I had a spaghetti dinner on the table. Well, the little bugger dug in to his meal and ate like I've never seen him eat before. We decided then and there, we were done playing games.

Since that night when he starts to go back to his old habits I skip the old bribery tactics and go right to time outs. I only had to follow through a couple of times and it seems he got the message. Now just the threat works to get him eating better than ever and often clearing his plate. We've also started making a big deal out of the last three bites and let him push down my fingers as he counts them down which he really seems to like.

I've read in a few articles lately saying that forcing him to eat like this is the worst thing that we can do. That we should just not make a big deal out of it and he'll work it out himself. We've tried that and it didn't work. I think Oliver is happier in a strange way too because now after a couple weeks of our new tactics we are having to threaten less and less and he's actually starting to say things like yummy as he voluntarily shovels in whatever we're eating. I'm hoping that we'll soon be able to have a nice meal together without threats or bribes of any kind. I won't expect it soon but I have hope.


Matt, Kara, Hunter and Cavan said...

The same thing we did!!! It has been three months since we just started shoving the food by force into Hunter's mouth. What a change in that kid!! He eats so many more foods now and will usually do it all on his own.

I know everything out there says this is the worst thing you can do with your kids, but seriously, I was tired of the games too.

High Five!


Heather, aka: Mum said...

Hey Marena!!

Here's my two cents...

At three years old, we've not gotpicky eaters (thank goodness) BUT other challenges have come up with the more assertive of the two! I'vetakento times outs in her bedroom the second her games start...I've met with HUGE success with this! After a short break from us, she comes back down stares, comes right up to me & appologises to me & her sister about her behaviour & carries on in a cheerful co-operative fashion!!!

Before I got serious about setting certain limits & clear expectations, we BOTH went through hell together!

To heck with what the books say...My mum told me to put the books down a long time ago (actually, when I was pregnant!!) Best thing I ever did!! Besides...we know what our own children need, far better than who ever authered these publications...

Cheers! H