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When to start being strict re. meals?

Lo is 17 months and this week has been refusing some of his meals. He's had one good hot meal every day but has then not eaten the other eg, eaten dinner and refused tea or vice versa. I'm pretty sure he's not teething and that he is hungry, they're also meals that he likes.

I'm not sure how to handle it. Today he'd eaten all his brekfast , dinner and snacks but had a tantrum over his tea. We ignored him and carried on chatting and eating ours . Once we'd finished I took it his plate away and then carried on with his normal bedtime routine . I didn't want him to go to sleep on an empty tummy so he had bread and butter (which he loves and would eat all day if I let him) and a beaker of milk. I don't know if I should have done this though? Is it rewarding his tantrum?

He's started alot of new behaviour this week-getting upset when I drop him at nursery, taking along time to fall asleep at night and instead of laughing at daddy's peak a boo game he's finding it frightening.

Another little question-is it normal for toddlers to get a bit particular about things-eg,he wants the toilet seat lid closed or if he spills milk he wants it wiped up.

Thanks ladies xx


  • Thanks stephi, I think you're right ! I can see that he's getting overwhelmed by his emotions -one minute he wants something done his way and is mr independant and the next he's back into baby mode and needs me to sit next to his cot at bedtime ! Bless them-it must be a frustrating time. This morning , he was determined to put his body warmer on by himself-he managed to get one arm in but it was upside down and back to front, I said 'would you like mummy to help' and he looked up at me and did a really sad slow nod!

    I don't want to create anxiety at mealtimes, he does have phases where he eats less but it's usually if he's poorly or teething so I've always given him whatever he fancies (within reason ) and he's always gone back to eating well. This week seems different though- it's more of a battle of wills x
  • Peter has been doing this too, upon occasion. Yesterday he refused to eat anything at lunch except bread. If he does this, I tend to offer him fruit for pudding, rather than a yoghurt and keep everything else I offer him totally normal. So he had a couple of animal crackers at tea time, his normal dinner including a yoghurt (which he ate all of) and his bedtime milk as usual. He then ate everything offered him today, so I know that he had a lot of vegetable, whereas yesterday he had very little, but I am trying not to worry about that.

    Someone once told me that you are supposed to evaluate a child's diet over the course of week, rather than a day, so if he is eating a balanced diet in general, one or two meals refused won't make too much difference. I would say just ignoring the behaviour is spot-on. I'm not sure I would have offered Peter bread and butter as I always think that if he gets his milk he won't be going to bed on an empty stomach, even if he hasn't eaten dinner, and his milk is something he gets regularly so can't be construed as a reward. But that is just me and I think it is one of those small variations of parenting style that is down to knowing your own child best.

    As for the particularity, Peter has started picking bits of dirt off the floor and handing them to us to throw out. One of his friends hates having dirty hands and runs to his mother to have them wiped every time he touches something new. I think it is just the age and they will grow out of it eventually. I find it really quite cute at the moment but I imagine it may grow old reasonably fast!

    Oh, and we had our first lying-face-down-on-the-floor temper tantrum the other day. It lasted all of two kicks before he got bored - I have never had such a hard time keeping a straight face and ignoring him! :lol:
  • I have never really been strict with my son's meals, I'm not sure if this is good or bad....He is 27 months and he never finishes meals, he probably eats 2/3 of a meal if you're really lucky!! He loves veg and will often eat the veg and leave the rest. I'm quite relaxed about it - he tries new foods, he feeds himself, he loves fruit and veg, he will eat a variety of food....If he doesnt finish it it usually means he just isn't hungry. Anyway if he doesn't eat anything at tea time I tend to offer him something else usually a pudding or toast, but this doesn't usually affect whether he eats the main or not x
  • The been particular thing is very normal and it gets worse with age :lol: my dd is so particular about some things i swear she has ocd lol and she shouts at me so loud if i do something wrong like god forbid put here beaker on the wrong side of her high chair (she likes it on the left lol) etc etc.

    As for the feeding im not very strict yet but like history girl if she refuses her main meal then i offer fruit afterwards instead of a yoghurt for example xx
  • My ds (19 months) went through a bit of a phase last week in that he refused all of his dinners for a whole week (he had sandwiches at lunchtime which he ate). I was really anxious about it but determined to be quite strict and only offered him fruit instead (which he always ate). Luckily he is now back to eating meals so it appeared to be just a phase but I was really pulling my hair out, and worried that he would wake in the night, which he didn't. Toddlers - who can figure them out!!
  • Mine went throught he same Emmsy4 - refused everything I offered him from breakfast, lunch & tea for over a week! He was drinking well though so I didn't force him and didn't resort to sweet things or treats instead. Eventually he got so hungry he sat down and had to eat, and realised he wasn't going to get his own way! He now eats most of what you give him; I don't offer him a pudding (except fruit) unless he eats most of his lunch/tea, otherwise it just reinforces the fact he can have biscuits (or whatever) if he doesnt eat his veg. Mine is the same as well about eating the veg instead of the meat - its softer so he doesn't have to work as hard to chew it! Lazy sod! But I'd rather that than the other way around.

    He'll get over it eventually, just dont cave in and offer bad things instead x
  • Thanks so much for the adivce ladies.

    This morning he only ate half his brekfast so he's clearly not going to bed hungry. If he does it again this evening then i'll just give him milk before bed x
  • Oh my god P.bob! You have just described Abby to a T! I have no advise at all, but thank you for posting this, as the other girls have (as always) given some fabby tips and advise, and it is such a relief to know that it's normal toddler behaviour, as I was starting to think that it was just my crap parenting, and the whole "new baby"/pregnancy thing! Whoop!
  • It sounds like this is pretty normal toddler behaviour then! Thanks for the reasurance!

    This evening he ate all his tea plus toast and milk for supper and he'd eaten everything put infront if him at nursery too! I'll never understand how his mind works !

    I'm fast learning how to coax him into doing things and avoid a tantrum. It takes so much patience though ! We went for a walk before tea and it started to rain, he was really enjoying himself and I just knew if I rushed him inside we'd have a hulaballoo so I pretended we were looking for the cat and we eventually got in. I did the same at teatime, coaxed him into his chair by turning it into a game. I think sometimes, when I'm tired at the end of a busy day I try to rush him and that's when he reacts. Anyway, I'm rambling now!xx
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