How to Handle Overtired Babies and Toddlers at Mealtime - Feeding Littles

How to Handle Overtired Babies and Toddlers at Mealtime

Anyone else have a case of the Mondays recently?

This was my almost 3-year-old after her first day of full-day preschool school (9-3) during which she refused to nap. I took her sleepy body out of the car at home, set her on her feet, and when I turned around after unloading the car she was passed out on the floor.

Can we talk about feeding overtired children? As you have probably learned, kids don’t eat spectacularly well when they’re tired. Even young babies struggle to focus on a feed when they haven’t had enough sleep. So, what’s a tired (and frustrated) parent to do when your child is crazy and overtired but needs to eat?

  1. ​Overtired babies may not do well in the feeding chair. It’s OK to take them out and try again next time. Sometimes a milk feed is what they need more right now.
  2. Toddler melting down before dinnertime? Sometimes we have to offer dinner earlier than planned and put them to bed. Try to serve what you’d be having normally and at least sit with them if you’re not hungry for dinner. Make it as positive as possible and get that child down! This is where you use the strategies of routine and novelty to make the meal as manageable as possible. Tomorrow will be a better day.
  3. Go easy on yourself if you have nights where you fill ‘em up with mac and cheese and praise God that they’re asleep early.

The overall goal is that we have family meals *most of the time* and serve our kids what we eat *most of the time* (maybe with some special considerations), but we’re also real parents with real kids who sometimes just need a full tummy and a good night’s sleep.

​Tomorrow will be a better day. Get that sweet babe to bed and get down with some mindless TV or a good book, because you deserve to celebrate surviving a day with an overtired, adorable little lunatic!

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