Question about mealtime. Do you do this?

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Question about mealtime. Do you do this?
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 6:37pm
Hi, I have an almost 3 year old and during meals I still find myself "feeding" her rather than letting her feed herself. She seems to eat more when I feed her. When I leave her to feed herself, she gets bored quicly, takes a few bites and say's "no more" When I stay with her and we chat a bit while I sneak some forkfuls in her she eats a good portion. What do you guys do? Should I just let her feed herself even if she hardly eats anything? I feel she is getting too old for me to feed her.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 7:08pm

I agree she is too old for you too feed her. It is probably a power issue and she knows eventually you will feed her. I would let her feed herself and if she does not eat much don't make a big deal about it. She will certainly eat if she is hungry and i have found with my soon to be 3 yr old(tomorrow) that the best way to get him to do something is to tell him and then leave it alone... he usually protests at first but eventually does what i want.



Avatar for mom2gusandem
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 03-26-2003 - 8:52pm
I agree with Dawn. She is too old for you to be feeding her. Like Dawn said, if she is hungry she will eat and the whole thing - at this point - does sound like a power issue. She probably doesn't feed herself because she knows you will do it. I would just set the food in front of her and let her take matters into her own hands. Don't make too much of a big deal out of the whole situation. I've learned over the years if you make a big deal out of an issue, it will *become* a big deal...especially with toddlers. Our rule about the "I'm done" after a few bites is she is allowed to be excused from the table and her food stays at her place until we are all done. If she decides she's still hungry while we are all still eating she may return and finish her meal. If we have cleared the table and are cleaning up -- too late. Needless to say, she usually finishes her meal while we are all at the table these days! It didn't take her long to figure that one out! Also, e never make their evening snacks tied in with what they ate for dinner. It's just not worth making food a point of a power struggle or leverage in punishment. (Since I have two dd's I have strong opinions about that!) They still get a snack (if they ask for it) before bed even if they didn't eat a ton at dinner.

Don't know if this helps. Hope it all works out! Hang in there!


(mom to Emeline 2/7/00 and Augusta 2/6/96)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 3:36am
to tell you the truth I do the EXACT same thing that you do! My daughter is going to be 3 in August. I know I shouldnt feed her because she is perfectly capable of eating on her own just gets a bit lazy to do it and says ''Im finished now, I will go play''

However I have started teaching her manners and I dont let her leave the table until we are all finished ( she can learn the may I be excused part later) cause she will after alot of scowling, eat the rest of her food.

She is a good eater and Id like to keep it that way, shes just in a rush.

SO try the advice you , well WE got because I think that they are getting to old to be fed when they can do it themselves

Good luck!


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 8:43pm
DD is 3 1/2, and has insisted on self-feeding since she was just barely 1. HOWEVER, she only takes a few bites, then wants to leave the table. 15 minutes after all the dishes are put away, she's back looking for more. Part of this is a ploy to get crackers or bananas instead of chicken or brocolli, but part of it is that she easily gets distracted or bored with feeding herself.

So, we feed her, sort of. We let her self feed first, then when she stops eating (but before she asks to be excused) we nonchalantly start putting bites of food on her fork. Often she will pick up the fork and eat what is on it without even thinking about it. I think she gives up fighting to get the rice or peas or whatever onto her fork, and likes us to help her. There are times when that doesn't work, and the food just stays there on her fork getting cold. That is when DH will pick up the fork and feed her. If she truly doesn't like the food she won't eat it, but most of the time she just wants someone else to do the work. She eats a normal sized meal this way, but tells us when she is full. The post-dinner snacking is way down. Just so you don't think we're some weird permissive family: We never did this for the boys. They usually didn't eat because they didn't like something, and there was no way anyone was going to get it in their mouth.

About post dinner snacks. One post says she doesn't fight about them, and that is great. You really do have to pick your battles, and food is not something to fight about. But all 3 of my kids are huge manipulators and will purposely eat a small meal then ask for snacks a short time later. It drives me nuts! So we don't give snacks unless we think they really need one. Sometimes we'll even save their half-full plate so when they ask for a snack 30 minutes after dinner, we'll pop it in the micro. They get so mad! But hey, if you're truly hungry you can eat reheats just as well as bananas or yogurt.

Avatar for ar7zona
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Thu, 03-27-2003 - 9:42pm
My two year old isn't a very good eater....I've been kind of concerned, but the nutritionist, told me NOT to force him to eat, offer him food (variety) and let him pick and choose what he wants, with him it varies sometimes all he wants to eat is maccaronni and cheese, and then other time he wants nothing but vegetables. I let him feed himself though! :) he's happier this way.

One the other hand my grand daughter just LOVES to eat! we have NO PROBLEMS with her! :) its amazing how every kid is different! LOL


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Fri, 03-28-2003 - 2:07pm
No I don't try to feed him. This is something he decided he had to do himself a long time ago and will often refuse to eat anything if you try it. Can you tell my mil was here and tried to feed him? My mil was concerned about how little he eats at some meals. It is true, some meals he doesn't eat hardly anything but other meals he eats a lot. He usually eats one good meal daily and when they were here it was lunch so of course he wasn't eating hardly any dinner. I also refuse to make meal times an issue.

As far as after dinner snacking if he didn't eat any dinner than that's what he gets for snack, if he ate half, most or all then he will get something like fruit with crackers.