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the eric update - day 542: on becoming a Grazing Toddler

during odin's developmental assessment in addition to being chastized for letting odin drink from and walk around with a bottle we were also gently chided when it was discovered that we let odin eat meals while not in his highchair. the mantra seemed to be that as a parent you determine where, when and what a child will eat and they determine how much they want. and grazing away from the table is not something to be encouraged since it can lead to endless snacking and poor eating habits.

but our increasingly on-the-go toddler seems less and less interested in being constrained in his highchair and it seems like it can't be that detrimental as long as you're providing healthy eating options.

although the developmental specialist was adament about the issue, opinions are split at babycenter on the topic and another site encourages grazing as a healthy habit as does dr. sears.

so, is grazing away from the table A Good Thing, or not?

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12/28/2005 04:35:00 PM 7 comments


Grazing away from the table is probably not a good thing but that is the only way we can get my 22 month old to eat lunch. He's too busy to be bothered with sitting down to eat. He has toys to play with, dogs to terrorize!

At this age I really don't see the harm. As long as they are getting what they need there is plenty of time to teach good habits.

By Blogger Shannon, at 5:20 PM  

People have their rules. I'm not sure why it can't wait until impulse control is better and directions are more easily understood, but I've only raised one kid to 2.75 years old so far.

Our son gets meals on his table at specific times during the day. Usually he sits and eats. Sometimes he says it's yucky and plays for 10 minutes to come back and eat it. Other times he picks up the plate and takes it to the kitchen and refuses to eat it.

In my view, any food down the hatch is a victory and I don't care where he eats it.

By Blogger SnakeHairedGirl, at 5:34 PM  

The best we've managed is that food is eaten at the table. The middle one is old enough that he goes into the kitchen, finds his food, and takes it to the table whenever he wants. The oldest has turned out ok despite even worse habits (like grazing at the couch all day long), and just comes and eats at the table whenever we put something there.

Of course I'm over 30 and I graze at the computer all day, so I'm not a very good example.

By Blogger Derek, at 1:53 AM  

Meals are eating at the table in his booster seat, but we let my son have his snacks in the living room most of the time. We eat in the living room all the time, so we can hardly chastise him for it!

By Blogger amy, at 3:04 PM  

I would let my child eat naked in a hard hat in a tent if it would get him to eat something besides cinnamon toast. Wait--I do let him eat that way to get a few vegetables and some protein into him. Of course he's almost 4. FWIW, we started with the "only eat at the table" thing, too, and it all falls apart when they hit 3 and their palates shrink and wills expand. If it makes you feel any better, you can just lie to the specialist at the next visit so you don't catch any crap for it.

By Blogger Moxie, at 11:13 PM  

Oh no, Moxie!! Are you telling me it's going to get HARDER to get my boy to sit at the table...not easier? I thought for sure by age 3 he would be sitting through 3 course meals at 4 star restaurants with us. How I miss going out to eat.

By Blogger SnakeHairedGirl, at 4:57 PM  

No, it gets much easier to get them to sit still to eat. They just stop eating as many things. So you will probably be able to get yours to sit politely at a meal at any restaurant that serves french fires, pizza, and the 3 other things your particular kid will eat.

By Blogger Moxie, at 5:59 PM  

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