Dinner Time Struggles--UGH!!!

  • Two and three year olds are notorious for being picky eaters and my three-year-old is no exception. Even though I don't give him snacks when he doesn't finish his dinner, I still feel like dinner time is a chore. How can I make mealtime more fun for everyone? How do you handle your picky eater?

  • MommyRN-
    Mealtime at this age is HARD for everyone.  I'm sure somedays are better than others.  I think one of the best things that you can do is set realistic expectations.  It may be best to hold kid dinner time for the first 10 minutes of meal time, have it go well, end well, and then have time to finish your meal.  

    What do others have to suggest?


  • Jess_BabyRN - I like the idea of kid dinner time for the first 10 minutes! I'll have to try it! MommyRN4 - my two year old can be pretty trying with dinner time as well. I've just decided he won't let himself starve and keep offering wholesome food and snacks. That way, whatever he eats will be good for him and I'm not worrying that he ate only junk food. I make him smoothies with veggies hidden in it and make sure he has his vitamin every day. Hang in there!

  • I make dinnertime fun for my 4 year old by singing ABC's and seeing how much he can clear off his plate before I finish.(I sing them slowly so he doesn't try to shove it all in his mouth at once).  I also make faces with the food and he gets excited to tell me he finished the "eyes"! He has been a picky eater since he learned the word "no" and this helped a lot! If it's a food he doesn't like, I just tell him that is was in the aisle of the store with his name on it and the box said he eats it all the time, then he always tries it. If he still doesn't like it I don't force him to eat it because then he doesn't want to finish the rest of his meal.

  • I love the idea of making a face out of the meal.  That is so cute, and I can imagine -a huge hit! :)  I can remember eating pancakes in the shape of hearts of valentines day, and things like that when I was a child.  Great idea KTmom!


  • hey mommyrn4! i had the same issue and had tried everything under the sun, finally i started letting my 4 yr and 3yr pick a side dish to go with dinner, for example apple sauce, or a veggie, things like that and with in a couple weeks they both were eating everything

  • Jess_McD - I like that idea! Giving kids choice is often a great way to let them feel like they have some control over the meal. ;-) I'll try it with my picky 2 1/2 year old!

  • Thanks Jess! Those are all great ideas. One thing I did try which is working well for me now, is that I enlisted the help of my older children. I made a big deal out of how well they were eating and how they were trying everything on their plate....and of course my 3 year old didn't want to be shown up by his siblings, so he joined in and ate everything on the plate too!! Never underestimate the power of Peer Pressure!!! LOL!