The eating cycle of a 4 year old

Every day without fail we go through the same cycle at EACH.AND.EVERY. meal time.

Put down bowl of cereal or plate of food, get the usual “I don’t want this”, “Not this again”, “This isn’t nice”, “It looks disgusting” and all the variations of it.

Keeping in mind that just the day or night before he was perfectly happy to eat it. But now; how dare I give him the leftovers of last night’s supper for lunch today? His taste buds are too used to it. Why on earth did I not go through the extra effort to come up and perfectly execute some dish that can be found picture-perfect on Pinterest? Why am I being lazy and just warming up left overs? Come on mom, you can do better. After all, you are a stay at home mom and thus have nothing better to do than create a child’s 5-star meal.

I won’t force my child to eat. But I am also not an Al-a-Card Restaurant. I don’t like wasting food. And quite frankly, if you don’t want to eat it, then just leave it and starve.


Lately, I’m trying to teach Bunny to be grateful for any and everything he gets. I don’t want him to be a brat and just expect things. So what do I say, already rehearsed for the umpteenth time, every time I put his plate in front of him and he gives me an excuse not to eat it…. “Thank you Mommy for the food you give me so I can grow to become big and strong!” And then he reluctantly copies it back to me. Maybe one day it will sink in. I hope…

And after what feels like a lifetime, the plate is empty (most of the time). And both mommy and child are happy. So we rush to bath or shower, if he feels brave enough to do so. And then bedtime story, goodnight kisses, sip of water, another hug, where’s my bear, no you didn’t kiss me yet, and now another hug too and finally light goes off.

But guess what? Oh yeah, you know it! The voice echoes from the room I just stepped out of; “Mommy, I’m hungry!”


Things running through my mind at this point: “You just ate a full plate of food”, “You’re just trying to get out of trying to fall asleep for another few minutes”, “SERIOUSLY!” and a few others I won’t mention here, but I know you know them all too well too. What comes out of my mouth though is a sweet “I’ll get you an apple, leave the core next to your bed, we can throw it away tomorrow morning.”

Aren’t we as parents just so fake sometimes with our kids?!?! For the safety of them, of course. And for our own sanity as some battles you just have to let slide.

What are your tips when this happens? Do you let them starve? Do you bring that bedtime snack? Do you make a different meal for each of your children? Let us know.


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