September 20, 2009

Tantrums at the Table - Lessons Learned

Tantrums at the table are a fairly common occurance at our house these days.  Some days are better than others, depending on whether or not our 2 year old is reacting to some food or chemical or not.

Thankfully, we haven't seen any tantrums from our 5 year old since we got through stage 1 of the intro diet.


It does no good to get mad or frustrated, in fact it makes things worse.

It helps to stay happy and speak softly and kindly.

We patiently and kindly insist that he eat a bite of veggies (blended with broth and fat) before he can have the meat that he is screaming for.  I hold the spoon near him and repeatedly offer, trying not to let him knock the spoon/food out of my hand.

After five minutes or so of me repeatedly saying, "Ready? Have a bite of veggies and you can have a bite of meat." and after five minutes or so of his shouting, "More meat!!", and protesting, refusing, and crying BIG crocodile tears, he takes a bite and gets a piece of meat on his plate.  Then he takes another bite and gets another piece of meat.  And on and on.  When he gets his plate full of meat, he stops and eats it all and starts demanding more meat again.

If you can get through the storm, the rest is easy.  The way I stay calm when he throws these big fits is that I remind myself that he is 'sick', not 'bad' or 'naughty'.  I remind myself that I know what he needs better than he does.  He only knows what he wants.  I have enough experience now to know that he will not scream for long unless I lose my temper.  When you lose your temper, they lose theirs, too, and they get very stubborn. 

The key is to keep your cool and speak softly and gently while continuing to offer the food they need to eat with the promise of being rewarded with the food they want to eat.

I have also learned, for my child, that gritty or lumpy veggies don't go over too well.  He will eat it, but he will cry about every bite.  If I blend it very smooth, then he eats it happily once he gets over the initial fit.

I posted this because I thought it could be helpful to others.  I hope it helps someone who may be struggling with similar feeding issues.

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