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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 13:33 PM   1
k4th
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Mealtime battles... advice please


Ds is very clingy with me and hates me handing him to other people. He wants to be with me 24/7 - cries when I go to the toilet or leave the room. When I'm not there he is apparently happy & playful. He's very happy when I pick him up from nursery. He eats reasonably well there. He's in a booster chair at home - but is refusing to sit on it or sit on a grown up chair.

Anyway - this last few days he only wants to eat at home if he's on my knee. Otherwise he has a huge tantrum and ultimately doesn't eat.

I feel thoroughly exhausted and frustrated. He comes everywhere with me and when he sits on my knee to eat , he pulls at my food, pushes, hits out etc. It ruins my meals totally. But when I don't eat with him on me he ruins everyone else's meal by screaming and tantruming all the way through.

I'm at my wits end.

We go on holiday in a couple of months and I'm dreading meal time everyday if he behaves like this. What can I do????

Any tips????



 
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 13:41 PM   2
BlingyGal
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Wow, I could have written this a couple months ago (I may have done so, actually). All I can tell you is this will pass!
It took MONTHS for my daughter to grow out of this stage (and she still has days where she's much more clingy than others and wants to eat on my lap etc) - overall it has been getting better. I wish I knew exactly what made it improve, probably a developmental milestone of some sort.
Just hang in there, remind yourself that in the grand scheme, this is a short phase, and, who knows, one day you might miss it a bit. For now, he's doing these things because that's what he needs - it's frustrating for us moms but you're also filling a need for him.



 
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 14:28 PM   3
k4th
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Thanks blingygal! It's good to know it's not just us that have gone through it. So did you let her eat on your lap when she wanted to?



 
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 15:34 PM   4
zorak
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Honestly I just wouldn't put up with it. There is clinginess but what you describe comes off more as a battle of wills. I'd actually be inclined to treat it as a discipline issue.



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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 15:45 PM   5
MindUtopia
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With some exceptions, like when it's a temporary situation due to illness or some other unsettling sort of thing, I think kids tend to behave according to the expectations you set for them. If you don't expect him to sit in his chair at mealtimes, he won't. If I were you, for normal days when everything is otherwise fine, I'd expect him to sit in his seat. He doesn't have to eat. We have a rule in our house that you never have to eat anything you don't want to, or anything at all, but you don't get something different or to eat something else later or to have pudding unless you eat what you were served. There have definitely been meals when it's been largely screaming and no food has been eaten, but we stick to it, and by and large, it works and the battles were short-lived. I'm not a meanie and I know there are days when everything will be up in the air. If she is sick or we've been away and her sleep is completely screwed up, mealtimes are more difficult and on these rare occasions, I'm more flexible and definitely she will sometimes ask on these days to sit in my lap to eat and that's fine. I know when she's really out of sorts and needs and cuddle and just needs the extra support. When the sickness passes, she's back to normal and happy to eat on her own. But I think if you want mealtimes to be a certain way, you have to set up that expectation and stick to it. There are times when it's best to do whatever you have to do to get through the meal, but those shouldn't be everyday. So if you want him sitting in his chair, I'd expect him to sit in his chair, even if he screams, until the end of the meal. You may also want to consider if maybe he's too tired, if it's specifically at dinner time. I know there were times when dinner was especially hard because it was late in the day and she was exhausted, but we work until 5, so not much we could do to move it earlier. If you think that's a factor, you might consider moving dinner times around if you can or perhaps offering him dinner earlier before everyone else. Otherwise, I think you just have to be firm and stick with a plan.



 
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 15:57 PM   6
catty
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Oh i could not cope with that. I probably sound so mean but id probably say if your not going to sit in your chair then there is no food. Id obviously offer the food everytime and hope that within a week or so it will become the norm that he is expected to sit in his chair.
If he is unwell or extremely tired maybe different but an average day i think id try this. As you say he eats at nursery and i dont think theyd let him sit on their knee?



 
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Old Mar 7th, 2017, 16:39 PM   7
SarahBear
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If you generally don't mind him on your lap when he's well behaved, perhaps try setting some boundaries and sticking to them. For example, when he hits, say "ow" and put him down and don't pick him up until he stops that specific behavior.

If you leally want him in his chair, then make it clear that he only gets to eat when he's there. If he tantrums, empathize but just let him tantrum. Eventually he'll see that it doesn't get him anywhere and he'll calm down enough to figure things out.

If you're consistent, he'll figure it out.



 
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Old Mar 8th, 2017, 00:54 AM   8
BlingyGal
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Yes, I let her eat in my lap. She was used to eating in her own chair so I knew that this lap behaviour was unusual. She was going through a lot of changes, starting daycare, time away from parents, sick more often and other developmental milestones. That stage felt like forever but she was just insecure and needed that extra connection to me. It didn't feel right to me to cut her off and force her to a standard that she wasn't comfortable with. It was really frustrating for me and I felt suffocated at times but she gradually got better. I would always offer the option to sit in her own chair but if she refused, I just accepted that and let her sit in my lap. Oh, and now she doesn't want to eat on my lap at all. She's back to miss independent.



 
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Old Mar 8th, 2017, 01:01 AM   9
sunnydee
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My LO is clingy at the minute too, it's a phase at this age. He's just testing the limits of what he can get away with. I would just offer a choice of sitting on the chair or booster and let him know he won't be sitting on your lap during mealtimes.
I agree to let him tantrum and just empathize that he's upset with this change. It should only take a few days and then he should be great on your holiday!



 
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Old Mar 8th, 2017, 01:09 AM   10
SarahBear
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Alright, sounds like it sorted itself out . Leo hasn't been a fan of his booster seat lately. Although, he did use it just fine yesterday. At the restaurant today, we didn't even bother with a highchair. I just had him on my lap and he did great there.



 
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