Fix Your Toddler’s Mealtime Tantrums

Fix Your Toddler’s Mealtime Tantrums


child mealtime battles
Son refuses to eat in the cafe

This week, we are discussing Joan’s, a Toronto based parent, struggle with her toddler at mealtimes. She’s currently a client of mine. but a few weeks back when she originally reached out to book a consult call, she was desperate to stop the constant chaos happening around every meal. Joan has a 2 year old and she had reached her breaking point (which we all do) and she felt lost, out of control and helpless.

When she contacted me she was in tears and overwhelmed by parenting. I reassured her that parenting doesn’t have to be that way and that in a matter of days she will begin to see positive changes. Joan wanted to know

“Can I get to a point where my child will sit at the table with proper manners

and not have this constant fighting?”

The answer is YES! There is a solution for every parenting struggle you have. Believe it or not, parenting can be easy for you too!


What’s currently happening in Joan’s home, is that there’s always a battle at mealtime. Power struggles around what her child will and won’t eat, what Joan wants him to eat more variety, her son is refusing to stay in his seat, etc. It’s this back and forth tug-of-war, each time she prepares a meal and most of the time, it results in either tantrums, crying, throwing food, or completely refusing to sit at the table. As you can see, there are all kinds of negative things going on at the table and it’s making mealtime a big stress for Joan and her toddler.


Joan and I have been working together for the past couple of weeks strictly on mealtimes and sleep. Of course Joan is excited to continue working together on other issues she’s having, because seeing success in such a short amount of time has made her hopeful! Joan has committed to following my suggestions and tools.

One of the most important tools around mealtimes, for Joan and anyone who is struggling with power struggles during meals, is to not give your child Undue Attention. What this means is, when our kids behave in a certain way, crying, whining, or refusing to eat, they are doing it strictly for payoff. There is a goal. All of our kid’s behavior is goal-oriented. Sometimes it’s to gain power and other times to get attention. Oftentimes we think our kids are doing something simply to annoy us or bother us, but they’re not. They are actually looking for a result. A payoff.


Next time your kids are throwing food at the table, tossing it down or whining about what you served, “eeewww this is gross,” know that the reason they do these things is because we REACT. If their actions cause reactions, such as:

“Johnny, stop that. I told you, we don’t throw our food. Do you want to get down? I told you, you’re gonna get down if you throw your food. Uhh. Okay, that’s it. Last chance, then your food’s going away”

This reaction tell our kids to keep doing it. WHY? Because we are giving them undue attention, telling them with our actions that if they continue we will continue giving them attention as well. Not our goal!


When we continue to give them empty threats, which we’re probably not going to follow through on, our kids don’t believe what we say. They know we won’t follow through and on top of that, they are getting a big, big, big dose of attention during our empty threat rampage. Now I understand that our attention isn’t positive in the scenario above, but that doesn’t matter to our kids. Kids will take any type of attention they can get. Negative is better than nothing from our child’s perspective! Remember this the next time you are reminding, nagging or repeating yourself! Don’t react to your child’s tantrums and negative behavior at mealtimes and throughout the day! Don’t give them payoff!


So, what we want to do is take away that payoff. Take away that undue attention during mealtimes. When our kids start throwing foods or doing inappropriate behaviors, for the really young ones, two and under, you’re just going to calmly state,

“If you throw your food, then I’m going to assume you are finished and take it away.”

Give them that one chance, and then when they do it again, you must follow through. You must take that food away. i know you are feeling nervous right now thinking;

“Oh my gosh, my child’s going to be so hungry. What am I going to do?”

Don’t worry. They won’t starve. If you follow my complete mealtime guide which is a solid framework where I walk you step by step to end mealtime struggles you won’t have to worry about your child starving. When we respond to our child’s tantrums we encourage them to continue with this behavior. This is not our goal!

Like Joan, you no longer need to feel stressed or anxious around mealtimes. You can have a calm family dinner where everyone sits and enjoys. You can take away your frustration right now! Joan followed my mealtime module “Stop Mealtimes Struggles” and in a matter of two weeks she was able to stop dreading each mealtime and actually enjoy that time with her son…YOU CAN TOO!

For $29.99 you can instantly download your copy of “Stop Mealtime Struggles”


– A new mealtime paradigm teaching you what jobs are yours and your child’s around mealtimes to quickly stop the battles

-Receive the top 10 mealtime mistakes that are causing mealtime power struggles and creating picky eaters

-3 Step Action Plan laid out in an easy format for you to start implementing today to create positive and happy mealtimes


Click the link Stop Mealtime Struggles, and let me know that you would like your copy and If you aren’t ready to purchase your personal guide, that’s okay too. This week try to take away that payoff and that undue attention with a calm statement, giving them the CHOICE to either eat or get down. Remove the pressure and your reactions. Drop your end of the tug-of-war rope and say good-bye to mealtime power struggles! YOU CAN DO IT! Parenting can be easy for you too! Watch this video to learn more about choice- Tuesday’s with Tia


To gather more information or to book your free 15 minute call -Contact me via email: In the comments, write your questions, comments, and struggles; share with our parent community. Everybody likes to know that they’re not alone and I have news for you…you’re not alone! Tia Slightham – Parenting Solutions is your support system and I am personally here to help you along the way!

Sharing is caring- share with other parents and please write your mealtime troubles/successes in the comments!

Make SMALL changes for BIG results,


By the way, all of these strategies work on your husband too 🙂


child, Child Behavior, child eating, child health, child nutrition, children mealtimes, kids, manners, mealtime behavior, nurtrition, parenting solutions, tantrums, Tia Slightham, toddler, toddler tantrums

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