Techniques for getting a 3 year old to eat dinner
I need some techniques to get my 3 year old to eat dinner. I have tried several, but it is still my biggest struggle of the day. She eats a fine breakfast and a fine lunch, but at dinnertime she just gets this look in her eye and you know it is going to be difficult!! She does not get a snack beyond 4 o'clock, and dinner is typically around 7. We have tried - leaving the plate at the table with freedom to get up but no other food options until it is time for bed and then the plate is cleared. Clearing the table with the plate and that is the end of it - no snack or desert, and no more argument about dinner. Not serving her dinner, and waiting for her to ask for it. Taking away favorite toys for an entire day. Putting her in time-out (Time-out is very effective in this house, but she seems to enjoy it at dinner time). Putting her in her room and bringing her down only to eat dinner. Not letting her get down from her seat until the plate is cleared or it is time for bed - whichever comes first. Eating our desert right in front of her - I'll say this works, but it is not ideal. It feels like teasing to me, and I really don't like to eat desert. Skipping an afternoon snack altogether, but again not ideal. I know she is hungry at dinner, it is just a power struggle. Besides, children need a small afternoon snack - I need one, too!
She is not starving, I have no qualms with putting her to bed hungry, but I'll say she eats a big breakfast!! We rarely have arguments at lunch, just dinner, when we are tired and she is tired, and she is looking to control the situation. Does anyone have any tips, suggestions or techniques? I need to get a handle on this situation, and I am stumped!! Thanks :) Christy