My 2 year old pulls food apart

My son, the messy eater! - My 2 year old son, the messy eater!
@4cuteboys (4102)
United States
May 18, 2007 4:41pm CST
When we give him a burger, or a sandwich he rips it all open and will eat what's inside but rarely the bread. Then if we aren't looking he tears the bread into a million little pieces. So I am trying to teach him to keep the sandwich closed and just bite it, but it doesn't appear that he is going to cooperate with this. Does anyone else's little ones do this? I must say this is my first child that's done it, so I don't really know how to handle it. What are your suggestions?
6 people like this
18 responses
@Foxxee (3653)
• United States
18 May 07
I would just let him eat how he wants to eat. My daughter was the same way. She took everything apart. Your son might just enjoy eating his food this way. He might grow out of it. My daughter did, in some kind of way. She sometimes still leaves just the bread and eats everything else. I'm sure he is just exploring his food. Or maybe he just doesn't like bread. You could try a different kind of bread. We changed the bread to "potato bread" and it seemed to work, that is actually the only bread my daughter will eat. So it's worth a shot, he might like potato bread better. If not, then just give him time.
3 people like this
@4cuteboys (4102)
• United States
18 May 07
We use potato and white and he doesnt like either. Maybe I should try wheat just to see if it's a bread thing! I am glad i'm not alone here!! I like potato bread better too :)
4 people like this
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
19 May 07
Hey, my nephew does that and he is 14 months old, so not two years old like your son. I have noticed that my nephew also does that. Actually, I was reading in this book I got (about child development) that at 12 to 24 months that the child likes to play with his/her food. In fact it talks about what you are describing: ripping the food apart and then eating it. My nephew will do that with a lot of the food ;). It is pretty normal for a kid that age, perhaps you could show him how to eat the sandwich, but he probably will just like to play with it. You could cut the sandwich into smaller pieces and see what he does. Perhaps he just eats it whole like you want him to do instead of playing with it :) Pablo
1 person likes this
@4cuteboys (4102)
• United States
19 May 07
Hey Pablo! Yep, i've tried cutting it up small in the hopes he would eat the pieces, but he still pulls them apart! Thanks for the tips though, I guess like your book says it's normal. I hope he outgrows it soon, it's so messy to take him to a restaurant, hehe!
@callarse1 (4793)
• United States
19 May 07
Wow, well bring a lot of napkins and wet-ones to clean him. Perhaps you could try to feed him the small pieces with bread so he doesn't play with his food? Or perhaps you could order him something without bread? Like spaghetti or chicken fingers? Pablo
@cudamani (998)
• India
19 May 07
Yes, my son does that too. It normally happens with these kids. They like the sweet or the cream inside these food items. When the time goes on everything will come to settle. Do not worry.
1 person likes this
@TerryZ (22083)
• United States
19 May 07
Hi cuteboys Im sure he will get over pulling his food apart soon. I dont think theres anything you can do to stop him.LOL It has to run its course.LOL So to speak.LOL Or just dont give him sandwiches.LOL Hang in there he will eventually stop it.
@liyan97 (2128)
• Northern Mariana Islands
19 May 07
My daughter is also like that...I guess thats were the terrible two's come in...lol...I admitt that at times I feel like I am going to loose my patience with her, but then I keep in mind that "she is only two"....What I do is ask her if she is ready to eat and if she likes the food I have prepared, if she agrees with me then I cut the proportions allittle and have her sit on her table.....most of the time she eats all her food, but almodt always there will be a mess....lol....
1 person likes this
@patgalca (14601)
• Orangeville, Ontario
18 May 07
Well, he is only two years old. I wouldn't worry about it. If he watches you eat eventually he will pick up on the proper way to eat a sandwich. When he gets a little older you can encourage him to eat properly. I have a 10 year old who still likes to eat all her food with her hands... especially vegetables and meat. Of course if the food is hot she uses a utensil. I have a 14 year old daughter who just recently decided to start pulling her French Fries into pieces while she eats them, as well as bread. Not a sandwich, just a piece of bread or bun. She doesn't embarrass me and I'm betting she doesn't eat like that when she is at a friend's house so I'm not worrying about it just yet.
1 person likes this
@maehan (1445)
• United States
18 May 07
Kids are just curious on the food they have given. Once they get older, they will get out of it. My children did the same thing when they are young. But now, they eat the entire sandwich.
1 person likes this
• Canada
18 May 07
if i try to give my daughter a sandwitch or a hot dog she pulls it apart as well but she only eats the bread and leaves everything else.
1 person likes this
@KrisNY (7591)
• United States
21 May 07
Maybe he doesn’t like the crust- I would continue to give him his food on bread or the roll and encourage him to eat it in bites- I would guess after a while and positive reinforcement he would start to eat it- My daughter didn’t do this either- I always had to cut the crust off for her- but she would eat the bread. Have you tried the I’ll take a bite first- So you take a bite of the sandwich then give it to him and maybe he will follow- If all else fails- maybe he just doesn’t like the taste of consistency of the bread.
@4cuteboys (4102)
• United States
21 May 07
Yep! I have tried the whole I'll take a bite them you and sometimes it works, usually not. I havent tried cutting off the crust, i'll have to give it a go! At least he eats the important stuff, although i'd like him to get some of the bread!
• United States
28 May 07
Give him time. It's normal for a 2yo to do this. When my 2yo starts playing in her food, I assume she's finished and she leaves the table. If she's taking the food apart to eat it, though, I just let her eat. She'll catch on later.
@rusty2rusty (6766)
• Defiance, Ohio
19 May 07
Being two kids tend to go through a picky stage. I suggest you just give him eth meat with out the bread. Or if you want him to have bread. Give him things chicken nuggets. That way he can learn bread and meat goes together. If it doesn't work..don't fret..he will eventually eat a snadwhich with bread in tact when he gets older.
@wachit14 (3600)
• United States
19 May 07
I think that he eats like a typical two year old. Sometimes, as parents we expect our little ones to act and behave like little adults. They are developmentally at a different place than we are so if he chooses to pull the sandwich apart at two, then by all means let him. Believe me, he won't be doing it in ten years from now.
@whyaskq (7532)
• Singapore
19 May 07
At least he still eats his food, including the veg :P I would think it is fine for your child to rip his food apart. He will outgrow this habit with constant coaching and will eat up the bread eventually. My 2 year old niece also does such but she did not eat any of it. She just tears the food apart and play with it. I too eat my burger this way. It is more interesting than to bite it as a whole.
@nishchith (136)
19 May 07
just let ur baby to do what it does as time passes on it learns on its own
• United States
19 May 07
my 2 1/2 year old does the same thing. She will eat the bread sometimes - last. or she will scrape the cheese off the bread. She scrapes pizza the same way! I figure she'll grow out of it - and hey - she's saving on the carbs!
@Michele21 (3094)
• United States
18 May 07
My son did that for the longest time!! And still does sometimes, but not as often =) So I got to where I would just give him the meat and not the bread or anything. So now when he gets a hamburger he will squish it down and eat it all!! I don't know what changed but I am glad =) If he isn't hungry my son will play with his food instead of eating, maybe that is it...he isn't too hugry!! I don't know...hopefully he will get over it soon!!
@latsmom (824)
18 May 07
I think he is just exploring taste and texture and that is not such a bad thing. he is deciding what he does and does not like, if he is eating the contents of the sandwich or burger and if either or both contain salad as well as other filling then I am sure heis getting all the nutrition he needs. My freind tried to force her son to eat his food properly and eventually he became fearful of mealtimes alltogether which caused a worse problem whereas I left my daughter to experiment with her food and invited my freinds round with older children a couple of times a week and when she saw how they ate she began to try to do what they did and now she is prepared to try any food I put in frontof her and does no longer play with her food. hope this helps.
• United States
18 May 07
no worries. my 3 year old STILL does it. sometimes pulls it into millions of pieces. sometimes he'll eat bread or buns, sometimes he won't. it frustrates me cuz he'll eat a hot dog AND bun one day, then the next week he'll only want the hot dog. i think they eat like us, whatever they feel is right at the time, whatever they are craving. just don't give up. if he eats a burger with the bun one time, then not with a bun the next time, don't give up on the buns...i mean i've probably wasted more buns and bread than not, BUT you have to keep offering. they change their minds so much! it's frustrating, BUT shows their personalities, and their independence! giving them choices is good as well. ask, "do you want a hot dog WITH a bun today?" makes them feel a part of something!