How to Get Your Toddler to Sit Through a Meal
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How to Get Your Toddler to Sit Through a Meal

Toddlers often do not want to sit through a meal. Here are some tips to tame your toddler and get them to eat at meals again.

It seems that as soon as a child reaches the age of 18 months or so, they do not want to sit through breakfast, lunch or dinner. My child used to be an angel and a joy to eat with. She would sit through any meal, eat almost everything on her plate and ask for more! It was like a light switch went off when she turned 18 months and started screaming her head off when I tried to put her in her high chair to eat. So I ditched the high chair and just went to the booster seat. This did not work either - hates the booster as much as the high chair.

So then I realized the problem was not the chair. Even if I got her sitting, she would only eat about two bites of whatever is on her plate. Usually those two bites are fruit, or whatever the sweetest thing is on the plate. Chicken? Forget it. Red meat? Forget it.

A few pieces of advice I have to get back to a pleasant mealtime with your toddler...whatever you do, do NOT talk about the food or the fact your child is not eating. Once I stopped saying, "Honey, eat your food. Eat your carrots - look how yummy they are," she started reaching over to start eating. My husband and I would sit at the table, ignoring the tantrums, and just have our own conversation, talking about ANYTHING but the food. Before I knew it, our daughter was reaching for her plate (which we moved away b/c she tries to throw it all on the ground!) and starting to eat. So ignore the tantrum and talk about anything but food.

Another piece of advice, which I am still working on myself, do not give in and offer the toddler 20 different food items until they take something. This will teach them they can keep throwing a tantrum and will eventually get the food they want. If the toddler doesn't want to eat what you offer, oh well. They will eventually eat at the next meal, or the next, when they are truly hungry. Don't give in! I am also trying to not give our daughter a sippy to carry all day. Water is fine, but I do not want her filling up on calories from liquid.

At the end of the day, like everything with toddlers, just stay sane and know that this phase will pass as they all do!

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