My boys are three. It can be a tough age and it can be a wonderful age.
Tonight for dinner, I made zucchini pancakes which is essentially zucchini latkes (zucchini, onions, eggs, and carrots fried in oil). YUM! My boys didn’t want any.
I said, “Okey, dokey. You don’t have to eat.”
At one point during dinner, they tried to get my attention and my husband’s attention and we said, “We are eating now, we can look at it when we are all done eating.”
They were so stumped, that they played quietly the whole rest of the meal.
There was no yelling from us. There was no cajoling or negotiating from anyone.
There was no fussing from the boys.
It was really pleasant!
We took a bath after dinner (or our dinner since they didn’t eat).
We brushed teeth and read stories. At one point, one of the boys realized that he really wasn’t going to get dinner and he cried for a minute. But I kept repeating, “Of course you can have dinner tomorrow night at dinner time! I would love for you to eat with us!” (You may hear sarcasm in my voice as you read it, but when I was telling it to my son, I had true empathy in my voice).
Then they went to sleep and they will eat well tomorrow. It was a really pleasant evening.
One of parent’s biggest fears is if their kids are getting enough food and it starts when they are infants when it is a legitimate fear. Little itty-bitties do need to get enough sustenance, but as children get older, it isn’t as important that they eat every single meal.
It’s ok if they don’t eat dinner.
Check with your pediatrician to make sure that you are on the same page, and if she gives you the go ahead, tell your child, “you don’t have to eat.”