Maybe try to make a system? Im no expert, by any means, but maybe make a basket or a bin with a limited amount of healthy snacks, make it pretty to entice her. Explain to her that she can have snacks, but only this many each day, say 3. and when the basket is empty, she gets no more snacks outside of meals until tomorrow. It might help, I know my friend's DD when she was 4 did the same thing, but she took it a lot better when they said no. They allowed her snacks, but didn't let it get out of hand! Good luck!
She may be eating for comfort, not sure. We have scheduled times during the day when we eat (3 meals, 3 snacks for the kids). If my son asks for something in between, I usually tell him that he has to wait until the next meal or snack time. It took him a little while to get used to this when we changed over but he understands it now. And I wouldn't say no to a snack and then cave in just because he has a tantrum or that just reinforces that tantrums works. He has definitely learned that tantrums never work to get him what he wants- of course he still sometimes looses control but that's more about the emotional immaturity of a young child and we handle it as such. We have an eating schedule paritally to reinforce healthy eating habits because he would happily live off of "snacks" and just pick at meals, and partially because it's annoying to have to stop everything and provide snacks whenever he asks.
She could be eating for comfort. If it's a new habit she could be going through a growth spurt.
It sounds as though she is eating for comfort. We didn't use food rewards for potty training or other events in the hope that the children wouldn't associate food with rewards. I know you said you'd tried refusing and she has long tantrums. Don't give in, though. If you give in even once, then this tells children that it is possible to make you give in.
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