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How can I encourage my toddler to eat with us.

Lately, my 18 mos old has started to protest being in his highchair or booster seat during dinner. He pushes his meal away and wants down. I would really like for him to eat with us, but I don't see the point of him screaming the whole time he's sitting at the table. So I put him on the floor and the first place he wants to be is in my lap. I don't allow this and he cries constantly until I'm done and pick him up. Any ideas for me?

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Asked by nikohtine at 12:30 PM on Aug. 10, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (6)
  • Well, you either have him crying in his high chair or on the floor until you are done. I would leave him in the high chair so he learns that is the routine.

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:42 PM on Aug. 10, 2009

  • Let him cry. He will get mad but he'll get over it. He'll eventually learn that he can throw a hissy fit all day long but he will do it on his own time. Or when he starts, take his food away or put him in time out. Whatever works for him and if nothing works then when he cries, stick him on the floor or the chair (whichever he hates the most), set his food in front of him and walk away. He'll have to sit in the chair to eat. OR... when it's time to eat (no matter which meal), put him in the chair until he stops freaking out and then it can be left for dinnertime again... good luck, hun!

    Answer by TheJBug at 12:59 PM on Aug. 10, 2009

  • Make him sit in his seat. It's past time for him to learn to eat at the table properly. You're going to have a harder time forcing it later than you would now.

    If he pushes his meal away, fine. But he's still sitting there until you guys are done.

    If he climbs down and goes away from the table, fine. But his meal is OVER. He can eat at the next meal.

    sounds mean, but he will survive and he will learn quickly that you mean business.

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:08 PM on Aug. 10, 2009

  • start with serving all his meals at the table in his booster or high chair and YOU sit there to eat with him to build that understanding that when sitting at the table with mommy you eat. all meals and snacks should be served at the table only.

    away from the table is no eating.

    we had to do that with my youngest, she was always leaving the table. I'd ask 'are you done?' if it was yes then I'd remove her plate - if she came back and threw a hissy fit I explained that 'you leave the table your dinner is gone'

    Answer by hypermamaz at 1:15 PM on Aug. 10, 2009

  • He is testing you. Toddlers find so many ways of testing their parents!!
    Maybe he is tired by dinner time and just not able to control himself as well as during the day, so he wants to sit in your lap for comfort. He might be going through a growth spurt so he is more tired than he has been up until now. Sometimes I would give my kids a part of their dinner earlier (veggies in a bowl, or a piece of cheese). Then they could finish with us, but they weren't so cranky by the time we were eating.

    Answer by RedRowan at 1:23 PM on Aug. 10, 2009

  • Ha... I didn't realize til I read this that my son is doing the same thing, He hates going in his booster and the highchair is gone and he only wants to sit on my lap, I caved but I see now why I shouldn't.. thanks mommies

    Answer by maxsmom11807 at 2:06 PM on Aug. 10, 2009

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