Toddlers: 12 - 24 Months

Mealtime drama

Hello, I posted about this issue about 6 months ago. DD is 19 months old now and it's not much better. She gets extremely agitated about food, and she has absolutely no patience to wait for a meal or snack. She cries and hangs on my leg while I'm cooking, and it usually escalates to full on screaming quickly. DH tries to play with her while I cook, but she will not be distracted. I usually give her a snack while I cook, but that only buys us about 5 minutes. She inhales the snack and then is right back hanging on me. We bought one of those expensive enclosed toddler stools so she can watch and "help" me cook. Again, that sometimes buys us a little time, but not much. After months of this, we are stressed and exhausted. Almost every meal involves a meltdown because it is impossible to get food ready fast enough for her. This morning already started with screaming because she had to wait while I cut up her banana. It's ridiculous! Anyone else out there have a kid who freaks out over food? Any ideas for coping strategies?

Re: Mealtime drama

  • Lurking. What are you giving her to snack on while you prepare dinner? Can you give her something that would take longer to get through? I would keep it nutritious but maybe you could try a fruit popsicle or something else that she wouldn't be able to eat as fast.

    Also, I would try rotating special toys that she gets to play with only during this time. That could be a good distraction and hold her interest for awhile. This is a difficult phase but most likely she will grow out of it. Good luck and hang in there!!
    Me:41, DH:41 Positive for MTHFR mutations- one copy C677T, one copy A1298C. One daughter born on Thanksgiving in 2013. Six losses.
  • Thanks, it helps to know my kid's not the only one. She's really a pretty chill kid aside from this one issue. We have tried play doh as a special treat only while I'm cooking. Limited success there, but I can try a few more special toys. At this point I wouldn't be opposed to tv or iPad if it would bring us a little peace. Thanks for all the ideas! And clarypax, your list of meals looks like my meal plan for this week!
  • Loading the player...
  • You're not alone! We have the exact same issue with 18 mo. old dd.  She has absolutely zero patience when it comes to food.  Like you I give snacks but that doesn't buy us much time and then she is whining and melting down for more while I cook. If my husband isn't home to help distract it makes it especially difficult and she isn't into watching tv yet.  Dinnertime is so stressful in our house because of this.  What I have been doing lately is meal planning and trying to make whatever I can the night before so it doesn't take as much time to prepare dinner in the evening.  It sucks having to make dinner the night before but it helps quite a bit.  We thought about getting one of those expensive kitchen helpers but haven't yet.  
  • Can your husband take her for a walk around the block? That is what mine does when my kids act that way. Or, I do it if he is cooking. Also, I try to pre-prep a lot of dinner like I will make the chili the night before, use my crockpot, etc. to generally speed up dinner because my kids are starving by the time I get home. 

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker
  • I agree, its a horrible phase.  

    I sometimes get DS started on dinner while I'm still cooking for DH and I, but I feel its creating all the bad habits I don't want - I was the 3 of us to be able to sit down together and all eat the same thing for dinner.

    If DH is home he's a lifesaver and takes DS outside or for a walk, and that is usually enough to keep him satisfied while I cook.  Other favourite distraction is a box of raisins, it used to take him a while to get all of them out of the box, buying me cooking time.

    I also try to plan some meals where DS can actually help me cook...  making pizzas and anything that can be stirred (thats not hot).
    *** DS born February 21, 2013 - Toronto, Canada  ***
  • pavlovcat said:
    How always keeping a portion of leftovers from last night's dinner and feeding her a full meal while you're cooking for you and your husband?

    I agree with this suggestion.  sometimes I just stick her in the high chair with leftovers since she is so hungry.  in the mornings that she is crazy she gets cheerios and raisins while I pour her milk & prep the rest of her breakfast.  But my LO only does this occasionally-- if your LO is doing it at every meal it might be more of an attention thing rather than a hunger thing?  what if you prepare the food an hour earlier than her normal food time or while she is eating her previous meal-- does she care then?

    i also like the idea to have DH take her on a walk.

    Hopefully its just a phase!   When my LO hit about 21 months she could go a lot longer between meals and it made mealtime so much easier to have a wider window around when she could eat...


  • i've been going through this w/ my 19 mo. been mainly sucking it up. i give him raw veggies of whatever i'm cooking for dinner. i also stick him in the high chair so he can't keep coming over and hugging my leg. last night, as soon as veggies were cooked i gave him some, and then finished up the meat.

    i sometimes buy the sliced beets at the grocery store cause he likes those and it buys me some time to cook (i hate cooking beets myself). cucumber is another easy go-to when i'm buying time.

    i also try to start dinner when they're in the middle of playing and get as much stuff ready before they realize that i've started cooking dinner. once the little guy realizes what's going on it gets a lot harder.

    you could also try a later healthy snack; something light just to tide him over. does yours like milk? mine fiends for it, so sometimes that buys me time, too.

    Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Baby Birthday Ticker Ticker Pregnancy Ticker
  • My son has always been impatient about food once it's finished.  Now he's impatient about the prep, too, and I KNOW that it's a separation-anxiety thing.  Ever since he went into daycare 2 days a week, he's been much clingier, and I interact with him so much when I'm home and he's awake (only 3 hours a day on work days) that he gets jealous of anything else I do that takes my attention from him.  Sometimes my husband takes him downstairs to play, and sometimes I just suck it up and let him fuss in the kitchen with me.  

    I'm pretty sure it's just a stage and will pass.  For now, I give him a snack he's not overly nuts about, like an apple, and if he's fussing because he's truly hungry, he will eat.  
This discussion has been closed.
Choose Another Board
Search Boards