My 18-month-old son, who is very active and social, likes to eat only when we allow him to watch rhymes. Even though he is super hungry, he refuses to eat (even his favorite food) without watching rhymes.

How can I make him eat without screen time?

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    By "rhymes" I assume you mean some kind of TV show? If so, what does he do when you are out of the house and there is no TV? – Francine DeGrood Taylor Jan 21 '16 at 20:57
  • Could be hard but you might have to get rid of rhymes all together for a while. My youngest insists on ipad time with meals - which means ridiculous videos on youtube - eventually she wouldn't eat even with them. Just stares on until we remind her every bite to eat something. We're in mid shift now trying to phase out ipads and it's working to some degree but still it's a hard battle. My 5 year old is old enough to understand when it's meal time and when it's not so I think even if you nurture a bad habit you can still reason with them later. It just might be a lot harder – Kai Qing Jan 21 '16 at 21:34
  • @kai - I am in same boat. It is very hard. – Swathi Jan 26 '16 at 0:22

It sounds like your son has developed quite a bad habit there. Eating in front of the television is not good, so I think you'll want to nip this habit in the bud straight away. It might seem harsh, but I really think you should simply wait it out. Don't turn on the TV, no matter what. He'll eat when he gets hungry enough.

Don't make a big fuss, and don't engage the child in an argument. Simply tell the child that the television is not going on. The rest is up to him.

Also you may want to generally look at how much screen time the child has, and gradually try to reduce it. Less is definitely more in regards to screen time.

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Put the TV away for a couple of weeks. Tell him it is broken. Show him the space where it was to prove to him it has gone. If you convince him the TV is no longer an option hell accept the situation more readily.

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  • I was going to suggest telling him it's broken, too, but I wouldn't go so far as putting it away. What my wife and I have done when there's been too much TV time is just unplug it! It's worked wonders. We also have a streaming device, so sometimes we'll unplug that. – user11394 Jan 24 '16 at 21:42

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