View Full Version : Crying At Lunch Time

01-08-2014, 11:13 AM
Hi all! I have this dcb that started with me last month because his old daycare provider was moving. He is almost 4 and a sweet, very quiet little boy. He is no trouble at all, except for lunch time. Anything and everything I give him, there is something wrong with it. But he will not tell me. Instead, he will eat slowly at first, then stop and just stare at his plate. I will ask him what is wrong and he just breaks down into tears crying saying that he does not like it. Here is an example of things that he has cried at: toast, soup, brussel sprouts, corn, yogurt, grapes, turkey, yam, peas, pasta...pretty much anything.

I have mentioned it both to him mother and father on separate occasions and both have said that he does not like to try new things, but want I am giving him is fine.

I do not know if I should get a list of things that his old provider fed him/things that he actually eats, or continue to try to expose him to these "new" foods, but in smaller portions, because I end up throwing so much out.

5 Little Monkeys
01-08-2014, 11:19 AM
I wouldn't want food to become an issue for a child so I would work with the parents on fixing this. I'd ask for a list of things he likes at home and have at least 1 or 2 of those for meals. I would still continue to give him new things but like you said, in smaller portions.

Sometimes a child will just not eat because they don't like it or because they are testing boundaries. Sounds like child has a bit of deeper level with food issues though. At least he is trying the food!!

01-08-2014, 11:33 AM
I have a list of foods I commonly serve that I give to my parents with a contract, so they can write yes or no or notes like "only with ketchup" or "won't eat if the peel is on," etc. This worked until I got one 4-year-old temporarily over the summer who apparently "hasn't tried" almost all fruits and vegetables. The mom just wrote "hasn't tried yet" on about 90% of them. Then at the bottom she added notes that included "really likes pizza" and notes about which soda the child likes the best. It was unbelievable. I'd still suggest getting a list, just be prepared for what you might get back!
Also, I have a 5 year old dcb who claims he doesn't want snack or isn't hungry on a regular basis, I think because what I'm serving might not be his favourite thing, but once he sees everyone else eating it and he doesn't get anything else he usually changes his tune. Do your other dckids eat with/in front of him?
I agree with 5 little monkeys, at least he's trying it, but I hate wasting food too! Good luck!

01-08-2014, 11:45 AM
Oh yes. Everyone sits together and eats together. I think that is the reason that he takes those first few bites. I like your idea of the sheet CrazyEight. I have a section about food likes and dislikes in my Child Portfolio that all parents fill out when starting with me. That way I can purposely avoid dislikes on the days that the child attends. But nothing was mentioned at dislikes. I think that the parents realize that he has not been exposed to a wide variety of foods, but would rather that he is. I will talk to his father again today and see if they can provide me with a detailed list of food that he has tried and liked and I can make that a couple of times that he is here. I just do not want lunch time to be connected with cry time.

01-08-2014, 12:39 PM
Have you considered that maybe the other provider forced the child to eat or somehow created this problem?? I don't play the "food" game. I don't make it a big deal and I don't force children to eat. If he doesn't like it then he doesn't have to eat it. No big deal. If it were me I wouldn't even ask him if he likes it or if something is wrong. I'd have him sit with his friends and when lunch time is over have them go play... No discussion needed.

01-08-2014, 12:46 PM
Yep I am with giraffe, I ask for a list in the sense of meal planning or they get their fave on their b-day. (But I do not play food games like she said)

01-08-2014, 12:47 PM
The foods you are serving might be common but it all the other things and especially if his old caregiver made a big deal of everyone at lunch together - he sees everyone else and is reminded of who isn't there - his caregiver and all of his other friends. It is easier to forget those issues when you are busy with toys and everyone is all over the room. Your plates, cutlery, his cup, his bib, tray, chair, the actual table are all different. Maybe you cut the toast into rectangles and he is used to triangles - all kinds of things can set a child off.

Rather than cater and dwell on what used to be it is better to work with what is. Let him cry if he needs to, over time what he has now will become normal to him. Maybe offer him choices if you have them such as do you want a red plate or yellow plate. Make sure the food isn't touching on his plate so he can eat the parts he likes and leave the piles he doesn't.

Whenever we moved (military) the kids would go through a grieving, sulking, finally acceptance process. Staying matter of fact and moving on myself helped them move on faster - hence the advice to not dwell on what was or you end up with a pity party of lament but instead embrace the new reality and make it fun and desirable and they do come around.

01-10-2014, 02:27 PM
I had a little girl who started with me 3 years ago and she would do this. I did speak with the parents about what she likes and doesn't like, however being able to accommodate this ever day was impossible (pasta with butter and Parmesan, cheese pizza, kraft dinner and that's it!) I can not only serve one of three different foods each day. So I made a rule that there is no crying and no saying you don't like something. You sit and eat lunch with the others and try it and when lunch is over I will ask you if you are finished. I did go through a couple of weeks where she would cry automatically, but I would just speak with her gently and tell her that crying won't change it and that she at least has to try it.

We are now 3 years later....this has been a godsend for me. All my dcc now will try new things. I can tell if they don't like it, but they all try and then eat very slowly. I always make sure to tell mom of the foods they are eating that they don't like and make a big deal of how great they did. AND when it's a day I know that some really, really didn't like the lunch, and there were no tears I ask what they would like tomorrow for lunch as a treat because they did so good today.

Now I have her eating stew with veggies and even chicken and vegetable fried rice!! Oh and they have no idea they are eating cauliflower, I puree it up the night before and put it into the macaroni and cheese or pasta with butter and parm.........mom knows but that's our little secret. :D