Lunchtime Tactics

Dear fellow toddlers –

If you are struggling to come up with tantrum tactics for lunchtime I have created a step-by-step tutorial for you to print. It is flexible enough to adjust to nearly any meal scenario. This need not be limited to just lunch.

  • Categorically refuse all food suggestions that mom lists as possibilities
  • Wrestle with no less tenacity than a crocodile drowning its prey while mom attempts to put you in your booster chair.
  • This step is a bit tricky because it depends on how mom responds to the first step
    1. If mom makes a plate of food for you despite you assertions that there are no acceptable food options available in your house, amp up your assertions of “NO! NO! NO!” to match the decibel of a fire truck racing down your street.
    2. If mom chooses to comply with your denial of all food options, cover face and dramatically cry the saddest crocodile tears you can muster. Your theatrics must match your realization that you will most certainly die if you are not fed lunch immediately. I guarantee mom will fall into this trap.
      1. If she makes a plate of food without reviewing the options with you a second time, push plate halfway across table declaring “NO!” (In my experience it is advisable that you push plate across table and not onto the floor. If it hits the floor Mom may completely end this little exercise by promptly placing you in your crib for a nap instead. And, what fun would that be? You must finish the lunch task before moving onto the nap one.)
      2. If she reviews food options, repeat step 1
  • This is an extra little step for any of you that are fortunate enough to have a sibling. After asserting that there are no acceptable food options, now demand that you are given exactly what your sibling has, cut up into the exact same size bites in the exact placement on their plate. Nothing else will do. It must be perfectly matched.
  • Quietly wait. (This step is vital because you want mom to think you might have become agreeable to a lunch option.)
  • Once plate is placed in front of you repeat “No! No! No!” at fire siren decibels and push plate away again.
  • If you as lucky as I am mom will be exasperated at this point and begin offering snack food options for lunch in order to get you to eat anything. Select one option and decide the exact standards that this will require for you to eat it. Do NOT share with mom what those standards are. (She should know by now!)
    1. If she fails to meet your specifications repeat “No! No! No!” at fire siren decibels and push plate away again.
    2. If she meets your expectations take precisely 2 bites and then repeat “No! No! No!” at fire siren decibels and push plate away again.
  • Demand night-night (Remember this lunch thing was mom’s idea to begin with. You warned her in step 1 that there were no acceptable options for lunch. And, if she gave you a snack for lunch, really what kind of mother is she?!)
  • Cry until you are released from your chair. Under no circumstance are you to touch another bite of food.

Once the lunchtime exercise is complete, begin nap ritual. In the next one to two weeks I will have that listed out in a step-by-step format for the days you are not feeling original in your tantrum tactics.

Hope this helps in our toddler aim for total irrationality! Stay strong! Stay defiant!

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