My 2 and a half year old has recently begun asking for help feeding herself at the dinner table. I think this developed following occasions where I've picked up her fork and fed her after tiring of her dawlding and goofing around at the table. But now at every meal when prodded to get eating she'll say "I need help," which means feed me. What is this about? She is an only child and gets plenty of attention from both parents, so I don't understand why she wants to be tended to in this way. She is a fairly confident child and gets plenty of encouragement. I'm pretty certain she knows she is loved. And she is not too picky of an eater (as far a toddlers go). So what is this about and how can I stop it without a melt down at the dinner table. At this point, if I don't feed her she'll eat only a few bites at each meal. Should I let her get down from the table after eating only a couple bites? If so, how should handle the request for a snack an hour later?
I would let her eat at her own pace...little ones are not known to be fast at the table. Remember also their bellies are still pretty little....but if it is something that will not spoil if left out leave it on the table and have her eat it later....I have started this with my boys lately for they are on a downward eating time. where they will not eat a lot at supper time..I let them know if they do not eat what I put on their plate they get no snack later on. I have stuck with this routine for the last week and a half....last might my youngest ate everything I gave him and then said I get a snack tonight....and I made sure there was not a ton of food on his plate to get him back in the swing of eating properly.
I went through this exact thing (and still do) with my daughter. I attribute this to a few things: 1) At this age, toddlers like to feel in control, so by having you do something for her, makes her feel more in control 2) It's a way to get you to "communicate" with her. What I mean is I notice on the days that my daughter is "cuddly" with me is the day she is like this. As well, my daughter doesn't like when I get up from the table and clean up. Well, I do this because it takes her forever to eat and the rest of the family is usually done while she is still poking. She said it makes her feel lonely, so she wants me to sit with her. This usually starts by her asking me to feed her. We have had a huge problem with her not finishing her meals and than asking for a snack an hour later. What I do is wrap up whatever meal it was that she didn't finish, put it back in the fridge and serve it again when she's hungry. This way, they aren't trying to get out of eating something and it's not wasting food. I really think it's just a phase right now and nothing to be really concerned about. Good luck!
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