dinner time strops

Oh, we're done with all that vegetable-steaming and mess, our children are cutlery-wielding, spaghetti-chomping angels... at least some of the time.

dinner time strops

Postby busmother » 18 Apr 2012, 20:02

Ever since we started weaning we have all eaten together as a family at 6.30, but recently things have deteriorated and quite often had major melt-downs from one or both children and I'm not sure what we can do about it. My thoughts are:
1) it's a phase. They're two, it's what they do, it'll pass (in which case, when?)
2) they're not hungry because they've quite often woken from their nap at about 4 and I've not got them downstairs until nearer 5 when I've felt I needed to give them a snack.
3) they're tired. They usually have a sleep around 1pm-ish for about 1 1/2 hrs, but it's been getting more erratic, sometimes it's later and longer or shorter or doesn't happen at all. I haven't really noticed a correlation between their sleep and mealtime strops, but I know most of my friends with similar age children put them to bed about 6.30/7pm, whereas ours aren't in bed until about 8pm, so I worry sometimes that it's not the best routine for them, though once they're in bed they sleep well until about 7am, and as I say they usually have a good nap.

Anyone gone through this and able to shed any light on things? I've found I'm incredibly bad at spotting correlations with these things, don't know whether I'm too close up, or my attention is split between the two of them or what, but any thoughts gratefully received.
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Re: dinner time strops

Postby Fozza » 18 Apr 2012, 20:49

Is the strop at dinner time or before?
We have dinner earlier. 5pm they sleep 7-6am. I sometimes do it earlier (4.30) and have noticed they eat better as they are less tired or hungry. A is particularly whingy from 4pm onwards. Try moving it earlier for a few days. Should say that, I don't think the routine is wrong for them as they are getting a good amount of sleep. Maybe an earlier post nap snack?
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Re: dinner time strops

Postby gallicgirl » 18 Apr 2012, 21:20

My Dd is at nursery all day so has tea there at 4pm. I pick her up at 6pm and she has a small meal or snack when we get home and goes to bed around 7-7:15.

Maybe try jiggling your routine a little to see if it helps. 8pm seems very late to me but I know all children are different and it's nice to eat together as a family.
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Re: dinner time strops

Postby ladyphlogiston » 18 Apr 2012, 21:46

hang on, can you go over the schedule again? Your post seems to say they go down at 1-ish, sleep 1-2 hours, and wake up at 4, which would be three hours of sleep. I'm guessing there was just a typo somewhere.

Anyway, I found that moving dinner earlier helped quite a lot - if you can manage it, try moving dinner to 5-5:30 when they usually get their post-nap snack, and see if that fixes it. That's what we did.
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Re: dinner time strops

Postby Disco » 19 Apr 2012, 09:19

S's sleep times were similar at a similar age - incl the later bed time.
For a while we thought dinner was too late 6-6.30ish, and tried moving it to 5.30 but we were quite bad at keeping that up. It helped the strops sometimes, but not always.
We're back to having dinner at 6-6.30, (naps are a rarity) dinner is still very hit or miss eating wise, BUT there are rarely strops.

what kind of snack do you give them after nap? would keeping it to something fairly carb-light help? I now try and only give fruit as a late afternoon snack, preferably not banana though - I do notice the difference if he has a banana at 5pm wrt how much he eats.
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Re: dinner time strops

Postby busmother » 19 Apr 2012, 13:11

ladyphlogiston - the problem is with generalising what isn't that fixed at the moment. I have it in my head they go down for a nap about 1pm, but then for most of last week it if it's happened at all it's been nearer 2 / 2.30pm, or it's been a longer sleep or something, or we've just taken an awfully long time faffing around upstairs, trying to get dressed, sitting on the potty, putting away some washing, reading one more story etc etc, so that it's been 5pm before getting downstairs. But it's not that precise.

I am quite reluctant to change the mealtime as DH gets home from work about 5.45pm (but variable) which gives me a bit of time to hand the kids over to him while I cook / wind down a bit, and we both really appreciate being able to all eat together (though admittedly less so when meals are so unsettled). We could maybe bring it back to 6pm if I were a bit more organised and got things prepared earlier in the day, and I suppose we'll have to look at it if it will really make a difference.

Snacks - Disco, yes it's quite often a banana or a bit of toast, and some milk. I've always struggled with snacks - I never know how much they 'ought' to be having so veer between not giving them anything at all to probably offering far too much as I suddenly remember I haven't given them anything to eat for hours.

So - plan of action: give them some fruit as soon as possible after they wake up and see if that helps in the first instance. I'm also on a possibly correlated plan to try and get them to nap a bit earlier, so that might help too. Try to avoid rearranging the evening meal unless all else fails, though I'd be interested to know what success or otherwise anyone else has had with that.
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Re: dinner time strops

Postby ladyphlogiston » 19 Apr 2012, 16:34

oh, of course! That makes perfect sense. I've done the same thing before; it irritates my mother-in-law (who is very detail-oriented) to no end.

I'm fortunate enough that my husband gets home at 5, so we have some more wiggle-room. You could try a couple of slow-cooker meals or something if your current plan of attack doesn't work, but I bet it will.
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