In the olden days, when I was raised my brothers and sisters and I got to sit at the table until our dinners were gone, or until bedtime or until our mother wave up. In truth I do not think that approach worked any better then as it would now. It works in various degrees, depending on now strong willed our child is. My brother would eat his dinner and get it over with. I would sit there forever and on one occasion I remember helping my dinner find its way down the toilet.
I suspect my mother would say that I deserve my youngest child who has been dragging me to the edge of sanity over his refusal to eat pretty much whatever we are having for dinner and now my daughter is facing the same war with her four year old. I have tried all kinds of approaches and have had varying levels of success.
Here are a few to try I have found to be the most effective:
(1) nothing else to eat except their cold, congealed dinner the rest of the night.
(2) Send them to their room with their dinner so you do not have to hear them ask, "this is enough bites" fifty times.
(3) Only fix Macaroni and Cheese for dinner until they will not eat that.
(4) Let them help fix and serve dinner (resist the urge to turn up YOUR nose and refuse to eat it).
Recently I took my son to the store and he picked out some healthy things he would eat, apples, gogurts, frozen pizza, bagels. Now if he hates the dinner I prepare I let him make his own dinner from the things we picked together. He's 10 years old andthisis working for us. He gets a fairly healthy dinner and the war is over. He also keeps a log of what he ate each day (it's taped to his door) and we check to see that he hashad something from all the food groups. I am hoping he is learning to made healthy food choices. Be creative and let me know what has ended the food wars for you.