Wednesday, September 8, 2010

What To Do When Your Child Won't Eat Dinner

I had the perfect week in motion. My meals were prepped, the vegetables pureed and the homemade chicken nuggets were baking (with hidden sweet potatoes, of course). The organization in our refrigerator would have impressed even Martha Stewart. I was the poster mom for healthy kids...until we sat down to actually eat dinner.

What do you do when you plan and prepare and your kids just won't eat what you make? I tried everything- bribery, negotiations, treats, the flying airplane. I even gave in to a cartwheel to celebrate the smallest bite of food. Nothing worked and I pulled quite a few muscles in the process.

Despite my disappointment and exhaustion, I refused to give up. It was time to stoop to a new low in parenting and pull out my bag of tricks. It was time for an experiment!

The next night I served the exact same meal (I had plenty of leftovers). I added one simple twist though...I invited their girlfriend to dinner. Call it peer pressure, showing off, being didn't matter because IT WORKED! I've never seen two boys eat so good.

Dinner was definitely a little wild. Most of it was eaten under the table and by the end of the meal they had all taken their clothes off, but my experiment worked! I've heard about this approach, but can now attest to its effectiveness. Kids tend to eat better when they're showing off or engaged in competition.
How do you get your kids to eat dinner? I would love to know what's working in your house? Share your tips with us? Parents are always looking for ideas.


  1. While my son is only two, he is very independent and likes to feed himself. Sometimes though, he just wants to play and not eat, so I just pick up the fork and feed him. Usually that will work for at least a few bites. If that does not work very well, I then become more creative by dipping the food in applesauce (he likes applesauce) and feeding him.

    Those are the only "tricks" I have--perhaps not very original, but I am open to suggestions. Now to just get him a girlfriend....

  2. Love this! And I can't wait for bribery to work with JT. Jake typically a pretty good eater, but JT just refuses most things. Luckily fruit and yogurt usually work for him. Someday... :)



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