Limit snacks so he'll be hungry at meal time. You can also try to include him in meal preparation because it may get him more interested in the meal. Engage him in dinner conversation so that he can learn what a family meal is all about: sharing good food, good conversation, etc.
All that said, you need to be realistic in your expectations. Toddlers aren't known for sitting still for very long so sitting still for a long, lingering meal probably isn't going to happen. In the mean time, if you can, try to be flexible. Let him come to the table, eat, and if he wants to get down, let him. He'll come back to the table to eat more if he's hungry.
at 8:33 PM on Oct. 2, 2009