The message about eating seems to have been heard loud and clear. Ever since Gracie and Luke refused to eat and we put them to bed without letting them have any more food, they have eaten almost everything we've put in front of them. We've limited snacks and limited television when they get home from pre-school and that has really helped.
I know I joked about it in the last post, but I did read the BabyCenter.com article on finicky eaters and learned some interesting things. Two things really resonated with me: 1) portion size and 2) the amount of choices we give them. I started paying attention to how much food we were putting on their plates and it was HUGE. It might be the right amount for an adult, but it was enough for at least 3 toddlers. It was the first change I made. We started putting less of each food item on their plates two nights ago and have had real success with them finishing more. The other thing, which is contrary to everything we were told a year ago, is to give them fewer choices on their plates.
Fewer? They just told us to give them lots of things to choose from!
This parenting thing can get super confusing. The article says that some kids can't choose when given too many items on their plates. This is an argument reflected by John Rosemond about toys. His has stated that when children have too many toys, they don't play with any of them because it is so overwhelming. It makes sense, but so did the "give them lots of things to choose from" argument.
We tried that on Tuesday night with lots of success. I bought a roasted chicken from the store and served it with raw broccoli and ranch dip. It was devoured! When they started playing, I reminded them that if they wanted to play that dinner was over. They both sat right back down to finish their food.
On Wednesday, Daddy made dinner and got a little excited with the food choices. They finished some of the food, but not all of it, and left a lot of food. When they started getting up and playing instead of eating their dinner, we declared dinner over and had them take their plates to the kitchen. We told them that if they asked for more food, they could finish their dinners, and left the plates for them to come back to. An hour later, Gracie and Lukie started asking for apples and I reminded them about their dinner. They switched to asking for cookies and again, I reminded them about their dinner. They did not like this at all. I did eventually let them each have one cookie once they had their jammies on, but limited it to just one despite repeated requests. We will try going back to less food and fewer choices tonight. I'm really thinking that less is the key here.
We've had some definite steps forward and I feel inspired to continue begin stricter with them about food.