Almost any issue can start a power struggle going between a parent and a child who’s two and a half and starting to be independent. And usually it’s over what worries the parent the most–in some cases, overeating, that can become the area of struggle.
Rather that limiting your child to 3 meals a day, we suggest you give her food whenever she wants it. In fact, have food available to her in the kitchen all day so she doesn’t have to ask. Many parents worry about this, but if you can give it a chance for at least a week, things will begin to change. Try not to say anything about the food that she eats and don’t set any limits. But do make sure that you and your husband agree before you try this out.
It’s best if you decide what foods are on the table, and your child decides how much she eats. You let her eat whatever she wants, but you decide what food you serve and what foods are in the house. And if possible, only have foods that you feel are healthy in the house.
What we’ve found is that when a parent uses our routine, the child will typically stuff herself for the first few days. But gradually, the overeating will slow down usually within a week. That week can be tough on parents. It’s really important that husband and wife help each other out during this time. Sometimes, that means one parent reassuring the other; sometimes it means one parent helping the other to not limit the child’s eating. So both parents must be willing to try the routine. When you do, you’ll find that if you don’t interfere she won’t eat so much.