Toddler High Tea

As you may recall from some previous posts, our youngest dangermouse has an aversion to the two things every parent prays for: Sleep and eating.

So, seeking the answer to our despair after a particularly horrendous episode, last week I dragged my tired butt to the childrens health clinic. It’s not a path I’ve frequented with child #2, having learnt the first time around the guidance provided is often the textbook answer you knew yourself deep down. And obviously, second time around we are pros, right? HA.

So having explained our weary predicament, the health visitor grilled me over her eating habits, daytime sleep situation and provided me the answer.

“You need to serve her a high tea.”

A high tea? My mind jumped to images of perfect children sat in their Sunday best at the table with tea in fine china and beautifully decorated cupcakes on an ornate cake stand tower. White bread cucumber sandwhiches with the crusts removed and scones with clotted cream and jam.


It then wandered to images of the mad hatters tea party, probably a more realistic scenario. A chaotic muddle of sandwiches and singing. Tigs sitting beautifully, our Alice, with Dangermouse popping out of a stripy teapot and me orchestrating the whole carnage wearing a crazy top hat…


“Fill her up just before bed with a bowl of cereal, porridge, toast…anything that will keep her tummy full long into the night. If she’s eating her dinner at 4.30pm she’ll need something else later to sustain her and keep her feeling content”.

Right, okay that’s doable. Oh, hold on, she doesn’t really like most cereals. Toast is a bit hit and miss. I did say didn’t I that we struggle to get her to eat? But we’ll give it a go; anything is worth a try.

My good friend Google tells me that high tea is in fact a totally different thing to afternoon tea – so named due to the working class folk having laboured all day having a more substantial meal than their upper class friends enjoying afternoon tea, and eating it at a table, hence the ‘high’. So less of the fine dining, or even the happy unbirthdays, a good solid supper of savoury substance is on the itinerary.

So now, the meal prep per day total has gone up to four (five if us grown ups fancy something a little less ‘child friendly). Which means no sooner has the last lot of washing up and clearing up been completed, it’s time for the next round of ‘please eat’. Whilst trying to hold off her always hungry sister scavenging the inevitable scraps like a circling vulture.

It’s tricky trying to load her up with food not packed with sugar, which I’m told can increase night awakenings. Crumpets have gone down a treat, marmite on toast, rice crispies and kiwis which are said to have sleep beneficial properties. The odd cereal bar, a bagel, anything goes.

Crazy as it seemed at first, we have seen progress…the last week we have had whole nights sleeps one more than one occasion. Maybe there is something in this after all?…




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33 thoughts on “Toddler High Tea

  1. Lindsay Reply

    Luckily my second is easier than my first with eating but sleep is disastrous! I’m glad you’ve had a couple of good nights, hopefully it will continue!

  2. mumzilla Reply

    Good luck! Little and often! And cake for you…#passthesauce

  3. Carly aka mummy Reply

    How coincidental! I have just been having exactly the same predicament with my 3 yo. He kept waking in the night. At first I thought his nighttime nappies weren’t absorbent enough. Then I thought he had worms lol! Turns out he was hungry and have doing just what you said…we call it supper now. But I totally get you with preparing the number of meals and the clearing up after each. but if we all get a good nights rest, its so worth it ain’t it? Funnily enough, I have also just written a post on how to get toddlers to eat, too. Great minds…lol.

  4. Kate Tunstall, The Less-Refined Mind Reply

    I’m glad it’s working for you, best of luck – I know your sleep-deprivation pain very well… X

  5. Life Love and Dirty Dishes Reply

    Glad it’s working. My two are chalk and cheese when it comes to eating and always have been. My first will eat all day long and my second occasionally grazes! #coolmumsclub

  6. rightroyalmother Reply

    Oh god, ANYTHING to get over sleep deprivation hell. Sorry you’ve had a hard time – it’s rough here too! Glad it has worked and I think the idea of resurrecting ‘high tea’ is a brilliant one. Hope it continues to be successful! #coolmumclub

  7. Mummy Muckups (Anna) Reply

    Solid, practical advice! Great to hear that ‘so far, so good’…anything for sleep, right?? #coolmumclub

  8. justsayingmum Reply

    wow , thank you for that little it of education on ‘High Tea’ – I don’t know that! So glad it’s working for you despite the extra hard work of meal prepping – but, hey, if they sleep we will do anything, right? #coolmumclub

  9. Unhinged Mummy (aka Janine Woods) Reply

    Your post reminds me of when I used to work in a nursery kitchen. The kids ate four times a day and the last meal there was high tea. They would have breakfast, snack, lunch and high tea and no sooner had I washed up from one lot it would be time to start on the next lot. It felt like they just ate all day long lol. Also your post has made me very very hungry and wanting a jam and cream scone. Shame I’m on a diet. Again.


  10. helen gandy Reply

    Oh interesting! I do love the idea of a high tea though! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub

  11. Mrs T (@SothisismeMrsT) Reply

    oooh an interesting read thanks so much for sharing. something I will be trying x #coolmumclub

  12. Mum in Brum Reply

    Ooh I’ll be interested to hear if this works! Fingers crossed for you! Taylor apparently gets a high tea at nursery. She always seems to be more hungry at dinner time on the days we’ve been to nursery which is ironic since she has her high tea at 3pm. So I imagine it probably is a little like the Mad Hatter’s tea party and most of it ends up on the floor! I really hope it starts to work from you and your endless quest for a full night’s sleep soon comes to an end! xx #coolmumclub

  13. beautybabyandme Reply

    I would never have thought of this but what a good idea! Love a bit of high tea 😉 xx #coolmumclub

  14. islandliving365 Reply

    I’m glad it’s working and I am going to have to try this as I have a threenager who is a nightmare when it comes to food. She too hates cereal, unless very sugary and then she won’t have milk on it. Toast some days but then on other days refuses! Hates sandwiches and vegetables and anything vaguely healthy. You will have to do an update post in a month to let us know if it is still working 🙂 x

  15. Not Just Phoebe Reply

    We do this, and often Phoebe ends up eating small meals throughout the day to fill up the minx, hope its working and thanks for sharing #coolmumclub

  16. agentspitback Reply

    I would love High Tea, I mean, someone to get me some High Tea every day! I have heard of this method before and I hope it works for you! Good luck! Thanks for sharing with #PassTheSauce

  17. Rhyming with Wine Reply

    Why did I not read this years ago!? Brilliant tip! We tend to fill ours up on milk before bed but I’m sure that porridge would have gone down a treat and might have bought us a few hours when we needed them. Touch wood they both sleep well now but if that changes I shall be reaching for the Ready Brek! Thanks for hosting #coolmumclub lovely xx

  18. Mrs Tubbs Reply

    I remember doing that – and we stuck to savoury for the same reasons – it filled the Tubblet up and meant she slept longer. Sleep is good!

  19. Emma - meandbmaketea Reply

    great that it’s actually working! we sometimes have a banana before bedtime if he didn’t eat all his tea #coolmumclub

  20. Mess and merlot Reply

    My two have ‘supper’, is this the same thing? After dinner and before bed (usually 6.30).When I happen to mention it to other Mums they do tend to look at me like it’s not normal?! They’re 5 and 7 now but we’ve always done that as far as I can remember? Thinking about it they were ok when it came to sleep, not amazing, both went through a phase of waking up 5.30-6am but it only lasted a month or so. My 7yr old LOVES cereal and regularly has 3/4 in his bowl at one time, oddball, but the 5yr old isn’t a fan so we go with peanut butter on toasted bagel, toasted ‘thins’ or sometimes pancakes or brioche but they have a bit more sugar in so not that often. Now and again they’ll decide they fancy porridge so I’ll make it with full fat milk to make it more filling. #coolmumclub

  21. familylifeandme Reply

    Oh I’m glad it’s working for you. I’ve never heard of high tea before. It’s supper where I come from 😉 I still have cereal before bed and I’m 30 this year haha. I hope it continues to work for you!! #coolmumclub

  22. Busy Working Mummy Reply

    I am glad it seems to be working for you! Love afternoon tea 🙂 #coolmumclub

  23. ljdove23 Reply

    Oh yayy! I’m glad this seems to be working for you! My kids are so different with eating, my boys will eat anything and everything but my girls are so strange. Eva only likes protein, no carbs whatsoever and Meggy is ALL about the carbs!! Whenever we go out they swap eachothers meat for potatos and I’m usually too tired to argue!! #coolmumclub

  24. Nicole Reply

    Interesting and useful post. Thanks for sharing. Hope the restful nights continue.
    (However, I’m craving scones and clotted cream now!!!)

  25. Louise Reply

    So glad to hear that the high tea suggestion has been working – interesting to read more about the difference between high tea and afternoon tea too 🙂

  26. Becky, Cuddle Fairy Reply

    Ooo I hope it keeps working!! I hadn’t heard of high tea before – I immediately thought of afternoon tea also lol Thanks for the tea lesson! Our daughter was a non-sleeper / non-eater too now she is doing great. Still fussy with eating but way better than she was! Hang in there 🙂 #coolmumclub

  27. twotinyhands Reply

    This is good to know and store in the memory banks. He’s not sleeping through yet, one wake up normally and manageble. Not a toddler yet either! Thanks for sharing #coolmumclub

  28. RachelSwirl Reply

    Sleep… the precious thing we think little about until we lose it after having kids. We have grown accustomed to sharing our bed with our daughter, that way we all sleep minus a little rolling room.

  29. carolcliffe Reply

    I would have called it ‘supper’, but maybe I’m too Northern?!! Glad it seems to be working though. Whatever helps, huh? Long may it continue. #CoolMumClub

  30. My Petit Canard Reply

    How interesting! I’ve never heard of the high tea concept before, although I have heard of other parents with young babies filling them up before the last sleep of the night in a bid to get them to sleep through. Its sounds like a similar thing.. Glad to hear its working so far, lets hope it continues 😉 Thanks for linking up to #MarvMondays. Emily

  31. crummymummy1 Reply

    It sounds like I should try this tactic with Little B! #passthesauce

  32. Silly Mummy Reply

    Yes, I think it definitely helps for them to be full going to sleep. My youngest is more difficult to get to eat too, and I have a real problem with trying to give her extra food without the older one, who eats plenty, also demanding it! I usually fail & constantly worry I’m overfeeding the big one! #coolmumclub

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