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how to get my 2 year old to eat his dinner

My 2 year old wont eat dinner. I know he is hungry but he just wont atay at the table. He wont even sit at the table. He has been out of a high chair since just over a year and we have never used anything with restraints, we have never needed to before thing.
He is crying that he is hungry, but all he wants is a freezee, I will not give into that. I told him he can have one after he eats, he sat up to the table, but didn't touch his food, after about a minute he got down and started screaming again.
I have tried making his favorite foods, so I know it isn't that he doesn't like it. He just will not sit and will not eat. I have brought him back to the table countless times and he just runs again. I have made sure there were no distraction 10 min before dinner. He is even excited for dinner when the timers go off, but once at the table he just wont stay or eat.
I know he is hungry. How do I get him to eat his dinner


Asked by Amelora at 6:01 PM on Sep. 15, 2010 in Toddlers (1-2)

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Answers (8)
  • i asked my ped. this my daughter is also 2 and dosent like to eat when were eating he told me if my child is hungry she will eat dont force it if he wont eat jsut tell him he cant get down untill he does and if he still wont then eat when the family is done and everyone is excuised leave is plate avaliable at table if dosent eat with you just let him know is plate is still there when he is hungry i dont know about your son but my daughter tells me when she is hungry i try to give her six small meals and she now eats supper with us if she says shes not hungry i leave her plate so she knows its avaliable but at that age its really hard to make a toddler do anything they dont want to but he wont starve i assure you

    Answer by aggheff08 at 6:41 PM on Sep. 15, 2010

  • Six times a day, offer him or her several bite size portions of nutritious food. Have them available for ten or fifteen minutes and then put them away. Carry on your sit-downs with your husband and other children but do not allow him to interfere with your meal. Remove him to a separate area if he doesn't want to eat. He will eventually find the family more fascinating if they ignore him and he will get plenty of nutritious food over a period of time. Forget thinking how much he has eaten at one meal but think in terms of a day or two. Children are notoriously finicky at this age.

    Answer by annabarred at 6:12 PM on Sep. 15, 2010

  • no snack time after lunch....

    Answer by Cynt1020 at 6:05 PM on Sep. 15, 2010

  • I stopped that too

    Comment by Amelora (original poster) at 6:06 PM on Sep. 15, 2010

  • I wouldn't mention having a treat after dinner beforehand, and if he brings it up jsut say "it's dinner time right now. We can talk about that later". It sounds like he is throwing a fit to try to get the treat instead of the dinner you have made. If that is the case I'd put him at the table, and if he doesn't behave (don't give him multiple chances either - one chance is all) I'd put him somewhere else (time out if you do that) while you finish your dinner. Then, go get him and ask him if he'd like to eat his dinner. If he says no let him be hungry. When he is really hungry he will eat. I think once he sees you aren't going to cave in and it isn't getting to you he will stop fighting it.

    Answer by TweenAndTwinMom at 6:18 PM on Sep. 15, 2010

  • Its harder on you than them. Just stick to your rules. Make sure you offer at least one thing you know he will eat. He has to sit to eat every time, not just sometimes. It will send mixed messages. He will eat when he is hungry. Hang in there!

    Answer by Lifes-A-Dance at 6:38 PM on Sep. 15, 2010

  • when dd was younger, i had to make a snack tray for her. i filled it with healthy, nutritious foods and snacks. i allowed her to eat whatever she wanted, all day long. i would still have her sit with us for meals, but didn't stress too much if she didn't eat. she is 26 months and now happily sits for meals with us. if i don't have her in a booster seat, though, she will get distracted and not eat as well. good for you for not giving in!!! too many times i see children get non-nutritious snacks just because the parent doesn't want to deal with the fussing.


    Answer by kyriesmommy13 at 6:47 PM on Sep. 15, 2010

  • Don't stress about it too much. The more you make a big deal out of it, the worse it will be. Sounds like a power issue to me. Like others have said, offer him plenty of nutritious options throughout the day, and make him things that he likes. If he won't eat, let him be hungry. He'll eat when he's ready.

    Answer by kimberlyann_214 at 8:11 PM on Sep. 15, 2010