View Full Version : Toddlers and meal-time grazing
05-26-2012, 12:32 AM
How strict should one be in requiring meals be eaten at a table, at a designated time, etc? My 19-month old really wants to come and go, but I'm not sure if it's a terrible behavior to encourage. Part of me says yes, but part of me thinks if she's eating and happy I should just roll with it.
05-26-2012, 01:06 AM
We eat all day long, but I do tend to put things away. As in if asked we frequently snack every 2 hours or so (more frequently at 18 months than we do now at over 2). But the food is never sitting out to come back to when walking by every 10 minutes. We eat frequently, but must be seated in the kitchen to eat. Food and drink staying in the kitchen/dining area is one of my big house rules.
We also eat in the car a lot and also when shopping/running errands. But that is also forced on the younger ones since I have three kids and tend to be shuttling the older ones around more. My older ones snack a lot too, but it is also a joke around here that the advantage of being the baby is more snacks. Easier to feed pieces of dinner to her 30 minutes before dinner than be unable to prep dinner because she is done while a 5 and 8 year old can wait the 30 minutes.
My goal is a balanced diet over the day (sometimes a few days) versus any single meal. I try hard to focus snacks on fruits, veggies, cheese, instead of crackers and such.
05-26-2012, 03:16 AM
Do you mean continual eating throughout the day, or do you mean won't sit still in the chair to finish the meal in one sitting? If you mean the chair issue, I don't know that I'd be strict at such a young age. We're working on this issue at 3.5, though. DS sits and eats nicely at restaurants and with company, but with just plain old us will often hop on and off his chair. Now we know he's capable of sitting for the meal, so we hold him to that standard. At 19mos, I think our DS was still in a high chair, so he couldn't wander.
If you mean eating in small portions throughout the day, I think that's actually a healthy eating habit so long as the foods consumed are healthful and not just snack-y. A 19 mo old stomach is small and can only hold a little at a time. All in all, I would concentrate on getting your DD to eat a varied and healthful diet in small portions and brief time frames. You will have to address the wigglies later on, but I think that's okay.
We've always required DD to stay seated during meals. When she was that age, she was strapped into her high chair; now (she's 25 mo) we let her be unstrapped, with the threat that we'll strap her in if she gets down. I don't know if this is draconian or not . . .
05-26-2012, 09:36 AM
if your dd likes snacks, build them in.
i'm not a paranoid mama usually, but i had (& still do) a thing that food was eaten in my presence. choking children can run & hide, and i was afraid of that. i still don't let him eat in the car unless there's another adult in the backseat, but that's just me.
05-26-2012, 09:59 AM
Do you mean continual eating throughout the day, or do you mean won't sit still in the chair to finish the meal in one sitting?
Both really, and I realize they are probably two separate issues.
One is the chair issue. She won't do it anymore, including in public. Since we were letting her get out of her chair and walk around at home during mealtimes, she now thinks she can do it in public, the grandparents' house, etc. Rather than sitting in a chair, she prefers to walk around, play for 2-3 minutes, come back and pick at her food, go play 2-3 minutes, etc. Or she wants to eat off of our plates. :bag.
She also grazes throughout the day. I was trying to follow a 3-meal plan with 2 snacks (morning and afternoon), but she'll often ask for her milk or a snack at other times too, and I'm wondering if I"m being too lax by always giving into these requests. FWIW, she always has access to water while she's awake.
I'm trying to follow the whole "pick your battles" approach, but I guess I'm wondering if I'm just laying the foundation for a spoiled, ill-behaved kid.
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