Why Is Mason Eating Well At Daycare But Not At Home?

My little OSU Buckeye is a lot of fun until it’s time to eat. Why is he ravenous at school but picky at home?

I’ve dreaded mealtime all week. Mason devoured a new pasta dish Sunday night but an extreme finicky streak (even for a 1-year-old) hit Monday and I haven’t been able to snap him out of it. For the past two nights he’s only eaten organic graham crackers and cantaloupe for dinner. The more wholesome choices on his tray end up on the floor. He giggles his way through our arduous meal, gleefully feeding himself his own bottle, but when I try to sneak a bite of lentils or chicken or pasta into his mouth he gives me a reproachful look and then tosses more food onto the floor for good measure. I imagine him thinking, “Let’s be clear, mommy — I’m in charge here!”

At daycare, Bug is a totally different child at mealtime. He sits at the U-shaped table with his little friends and digs in. His daily reports from school show that he’s eating all kinds of wonderful things, including scrambled eggs, bread pudding, fresh apple, pesto chicken, fresh cantaloupe, rice and bean chili, and the evidence of his culinary adventures is all over his clothes, so I know the reports are accurate. (Bug is a messy, messy child, especially when it comes to mealtime.) Then we go home and it’s a struggle to get him to eat anything more than a tiny bit of fruit, which is better than none of course, and those darn crackers.

What gives? Is Mason showing a rebellious streak early? Or is this just a phase?

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  1. by peggy

    On September 30, 2011 at 12:53 pm

    At daycare he is doing what he sees his peers doing. Don’t worry. Our son (now 20) gave up his plug (pacifier) at daycare long before he would give it up at home. To get our kids to eat meat when they were little, we told them it was chicken – no matter what. Eat this, it’s chicken. You love chicken (which they did). We also called the ice cream truck the music truck. That bought us a few years. Don’t worry….he’ll eat for you eventually…

  2. [...] Why do kids eat well at daycare but not at home? (Parents.com) [...]

  3. by an old dad

    On September 30, 2011 at 11:21 pm

    Of course he’s rebelling! He misses his friends and the fun of eating at a noisy, lively table. Sounds like he’s a man who enjoys the social aspect of mealtime just as much as the food. Make eating at home more like a dinner party and I’ll be he’ll be chowing down just like he does at daycare.

  4. by Norma

    On October 1, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    My oldest boy started this type of behavior about a year ago…the ladies at his daycare joke about how much he eats, but at home, it’s a completely different story. Sometimes I can’t get him to eat anything at all! I’m just glad (for lack of a better term) to hear that’s it’s not all that unusual!

  5. by Mary

    On October 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    I agree with everyone else. Daycare has an advantage–lots of kids =). Our nanny says babies eat so much better when there are lots of other kids around them eating. Then, they can be just like everyone else. Wait until baby number two, then you’ll have two super eaters at home.

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