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My 4 yr old is driving me insane!

So I cook dinner, or like tonight we got pizza courtesy of a free coupon for a large 3 topping pizza. Anway, she ate 2 bread sticks, and 1 bite of pizza an d announced she is done. She has been doing this frequently for awhile. She will eat 1 or 2 bites of food and she is "full". Then a few hours later she comes back and tells me is hungry and wants 'eats'. I am getting quite annoyed at the fact she eats very little dinner, and then expects to eat more in a few hours. Or if she doesn't like I fixed, she will not eat it. I try to tell her if she at least tries a few bites and she doesn't like it, then I will make her a sandwich. She has ended up liking quite a bit of new food I at least want her to try in the past. But now she eats very little then wants more later. I have gotten fed up with it, and tell her no, and she should have eaten dinner. My DH thinks I am being unreasonable. Am I?? What else can I do??


Asked by Michigan-Mom74 at 11:38 PM on Feb. 8, 2013 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (11)
  • I'd say that at least the time you mention here, she DID eat more than 1 or 2 bites of food before saying she was "full." That's not to say that I don't see your problem (you wanted her to eat more of her pizza slice!), but it is pointing out that she ate 2 breadsticks. The fact that she ate only one bite of pizza is what was upsetting, but I think that happened because she DID eat filling bread, and got full.

    There is more "bang for your buck" with the pizza than the breadsticks, so be mindful to present that food item first. Or else just give her what she's getting (breadstick, pizza) and make peace with whatEVER she eats of it, and make the rest available when/if she wants something to eat later on.
    Don't consider it a "battle" or manipulation. Consider that she is following her body's hunger signals. If I am surprised that my (also age 4!) sons don't eat as much as I expected, I hold onto it. Often they'll eat more later.

    Answer by girlwithC at 8:29 AM on Feb. 9, 2013

  • my DD is 4 and does the same thing some nights. strangely she's always hungry right after i say "its bedtime". i say "sorry you shoulda eaten more dinner" and thats that. if you give in she's just going to learn that she can get you to make her dinner whenever she wants it instead of when its dinner time. you could try reminding her at the table that she's not getting anything more later. if you think she's not hungry at dinner time could you push it back some?

    also, if your DH thinks your being unreasonable tell him to make her something...if your DH is like mine he wont haha.

    Answer by okmanders at 11:43 PM on Feb. 8, 2013

  • Ask DD to make a fist for you. This is the approximate size of her stomache. Now think about 3 breadsticks and a frew bites of pizza.
    That is quite a lot of breadd her up along with any liquid. So she reasonably will get hungry soon than you or I.

    Pickiness is another issue. I can't tell you if we are right or wrong, but I also insisted that my children eat one decent sized bite of everything on the plate. If they did not like it they did not have to finish it. HOWEVER if they were stubborn and refused (not because it made them physically sick) Then I would bring out the food they did not wish to eat and give them that option. If not they must not have been that hungry.
    That was my parenting style and it isn't right for everyone. I do think you and DH need to talk to each other on this subject and come to a compromise and present a united front. Even a 4 year old can see how to play one against the other.

    Answer by Dardenella at 11:52 PM on Feb. 8, 2013

  • That's the way it works in my house. You either eat what I've made at meal time, or you wait for the next meal. I'm NOT a short order cook, I will NOT make a different meal for every member of the house (unless it's a fend for yourself night and the kids want different kinds of cereal). They've learned quickly not to pull the picky eater garbage on me.

    Answer by Rosehawk at 1:10 AM on Feb. 9, 2013

  • My 3 yo does the same thing. She goes through periods where she grazes and then there are times where she will eat three meals and two snacks. I don get frustrated they're young and have tiny bellies. I don't eat much at meals either

    Answer by funlovinlady at 11:43 PM on Feb. 8, 2013

  • dard took my answer

    size of a fist

    a few years, she and her high school friends will be eating everything in the house

    Answer by fiatpax at 12:06 AM on Feb. 9, 2013

  • That does suck and the amount that you have does make a differrence. If it were me I guess I would Givehe a 1/3 of a pice of pizza and a half a bread stick and tell he no more until both are gone.
    The 20 year old does similar things here and because we have more food available her mom gives he more just as she herself eats more. One night she cut up an entire chicken breast and gave it to her. I had a chat on stomache size with both and it is better lol.

    My rule is that you can always take a little more.

    I really do not know how long it takes on FS but more and more people are applying so probally a while. When you applied did you let them know about DH's diabetes? I do not know if it would make a difference or not but, I would hope that it would.

    Answer by Dardenella at 12:45 AM on Feb. 9, 2013

  • My boyfriend and I went round and round about this for a long time. He believed in making our daughter wait till morning if she wouldn't eat dinner, and I refused to send her to bed hungry because that was done to me too many times as a kid and it was miserable. The compromise we finally reached was that there would be no more arguing at the table. My daughter eats what I make, or she sits with us till the meal is over and gets no dessert. When she says she's hungry later, usually at bedtime, I reheat the dinner she didn't finish earlier. She's usually plenty willing to eat the food the second time around. If not, she must not be that hungry and she can wait till breakfast. Peace has been restored in our dining room, thankfully. It's extremely important for you and your husband to come to an agreement because if you don't, your kid will find the cracks in your divided front and pull you apart without mercy.

    Answer by Ballad at 2:06 AM on Feb. 9, 2013

  • My DS is very similar. As has already been said, kids do need to eat more frequent smaller meals because their stomachs are small but they burn it so fast. I always try to provide a really healthy snack between meals if I can and I try to make sure he's not pigging out on snacks right before dinner if I want him to eat what I'm cooking! Still, he usually eats what I would call a "snack" portion of dinner and then is "hungry" right at bedtime like you said. :) Besides timing the snacks and knowing that a small-looking portion might be normal for a wee belly I would also say that I've had the most success with the foods that are the easiest to physically pick up and eat. Pizza can sometimes be tricky for little fingers to weild - maybe try cutting it in the shape of breadsticks!

    Answer by hvmom at 10:06 PM on Feb. 10, 2013

  • Yes. They eat frequent small quantities.

    Answer by staciandababy at 12:08 AM on Feb. 9, 2013