Daily food battles with my adorable 3 year old

Repost from 2014: I love this post, especially right now while we are all experiencing so many emotions with no answers.

Food battles are a daily thing at my house. My three year old will literally fight me at every meal. It is something I never expected. I knew children grew and changed in waves, but I didn’t expect his dislike for eating to last as long as it has. He throws true tantrums at even the discussion of a meal. Somedays, I feel so overwhelmed with his lack of eating I want to give in and just give him the cookies he really wants rather than what I know is good for him.

I use to treat families with children who struggled with food, so I knew I was prepared professionally. What I didn’t expect was being prepared as a mom. The emotions that you go through when your child isn’t eating is overwhelming. You think “if you would just eat you won’t be in such a bad mood!” but, alas, a 3 year old can’t really grasp that concept.


So in order to take care of him I have to remind myself to take care of me. I need to be rested, fed and approach meal time before everyone is screaming hungry.
At dinner time I always tell him he doesn’t have to eat anything, a lesson I learned from my mom. We play a lot with the food and we see how close we can get the food to our mouth, like smelling it, tasting it, etc a trick I learned from an amazing Physical Therapist who shared some of her knowledge with me.
I don’t use her training techniques in work, but I thank god every day I learned them before I had children so I can use them on my 3 year old. I have shed quite a few tears over my anxious child and his refusal to eat. I know, I know many kids are picky eaters, but after years of working with children on a professional level it is very different to deal with one of your own.
Luckily right now he is in an open place and I am recognizing his cues (asking questions, interested and willing to lick things) so I am taking full advantage of it.
I hope if your child is a picky eater this gives you a little hope that there are other people out there who are dealing with it as well and the only piece of advice I can give is don’t give up and take care of yourself so that you have the energy to keep moving forward. It will and it is at least for me getting easier.

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