How Can I Get Dinner Made With A Fussy Toddler?

This last week, daily meltdowns at our house when I am trying to cook dinner have unfortunately become the norm.  I tried everything that I could think of which pretty much resulted in a ton of tupperware strewn across our kitchen, milk spilled, a toddler crying on the floor and finally a walk outside resulting in dinner not being done on time.

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Thankfully at we have excellent experts to tap into to ask moms most pressing questions: How Can I Get Dinner Made With A Fussy Toddler On My Hands?  Thank you to Dr. Lauren Goldstein for her expert insight as a a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Happiest Baby Educator and helpful hints as a mother too!

“We’ve all been there! First, take a deep breath. None of the problems will get “fixed” when you are about to lose it! Once you’ve re-centered yourself a bit, take a 2 minute break from cooking to really focus on your toddler. While you may want to teach your toddler to be patient and not always get your attention when it is demanded, now is not the time for these life lessons.

You can avoid a complete meltdown (by you and your toddler!) by spending just a couple of minutes giving your toddler some positive attention now, rather than lots of negative attention later when the crying escalates and you have a full-blown tantrum on your hands.

Validate your toddlers experience by saying, “I can see you are getting really upset because you want something.” Then, offer to resolve the problem by saying, “Let’s see if we can find what you would like.” Or, if your child cannot have the desired item (e.g., he wants a cookie and it’s almost time for dinner), continue to validate, making sure to match your child’s energy level (e.g., saying in a voice as loud as your toddlers cries, “You want it, you want it, you want it! You’re mad! You want it!”), repeating as often as needed for your toddler to calm down, and then explain that the cookie is for after dinner.

When toddlers feel that their desires are being heard and that you understand how they are feeling, you will be amazed at how quickly you can divert a potentially volatile situation.”

Dr. Lauren Goldstein
Dr. Lauren Goldstein

Dr. Lauren Goldstein is a Licensed Psychologist and Certified Happiest Baby Educator. She specializes in working with parents and young children, providing individual and family psychotherapy, as well as developmental, psychological, and educational evaluations, including gifted testing, testing for ADD/ADHD and learning disabilities, and evaluations for general psychological functioning. For more information on Dr. Lauren Goldstein click here

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As always loves hearing any great tips you have as well!  Share your success stories on being a multi tasking mom around dinner time!