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F/U to my quetion below. Were we too harsh

So at breakfast this morning DH and I decide we were going to set the timer for 20 mins and whenever the timer goes off mealtime is over. DH said he explained it to him and when he would begin playing or acting silly and not eating (some playing being silly is ok dont' get me wrong) then he would remind him of the timer and DS would begin eating again. He ate his entire waffle by himelf before the timer went off!! YAAAY!! That's a start. DH said he made him sit at the table (I wasn't there and I didn't really agree with this) and when it went off he quickly removed his plate from the table and told him mealtime was over good job!!! I would of let him get up when the waffle was gone but I think DH just wanted DS to actually see that the timer goes off and the plate goes away! Were we too harsh? Again he will be 3 in Dec.

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Asked by dec06mom at 10:50 AM on Oct. 7, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (12)
  • Nope, had to do that with my son. If it works, then it works :)

    Answer by Zakysmommy at 10:52 AM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • I think the idea is right, but maybe a little too drastic. It sounds like your dh was looking to make a point. For a 3 year old, this point will be missed.

    I had to do something similar for my kids who would spend an hour eating a meal. I got a timer that you can see the time left in red, so the child knows how much time is left. I set it for 30 minutes, when the 5 minutes came i reminded them '5 minutes", but then when the timer was done, i did take their plate away. This cured our problem within a week, but we continued to use the timer.

    Children, especially at 3, are visual learners. And altough they have a sequence of time understanding, they do not have the actual time understanding yet. You can tell them 30 min., but they don't get that unless you can show them. Also, reminders help them to be in control of accomplishing a task.

    Answer by citymama707 at 11:00 AM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • cont...And if you do have to take the plate away, just do it calmly. Don't say punishing words, like "uh no, you didn't finish". Just say "ok, meal time is over, time to go--" with a smile on you face and in your voice. Otherwise mealtime will be stressful for the child, and you could see more problems develop.

    Answer by citymama707 at 11:19 AM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • I think you have to be careful with this one because you don't want to turn it into a control thing where he'll sit for the 20 minutes (which can be a long time for a toddler to sit at the table) and not eat a bite.
    It may be better to focus on just getting adequate nutrition in him throughout the day rather than focusing on three meals. Simply offer him three meals and two healthy snacks a day. He'll eat when he's hungry trust me.

    Answer by twinclubmom at 11:41 AM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • Only 20 minutes to eat? They get 1/2 hour in school at least!

    Were you too harsh...only because I don't feel 20 minutes is enough time. I think 30 would be a bit more appropriate...but that's based on how my three eat (and they're pretty good eaters)

    Sticking to the timer going off and the plate being taken...maybe a little "take one more bite if you want" but that's it. Unless he was TOTALLY messing around, then's gone.

    Answer by TiccledBlue at 2:24 PM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • I have to agree that 20 minutes is short. My one year old doesn't play around, but it takes her about 35 minutes (I know, because I schedule 30 for everyone else, and she eats while I clear the table, then announces she's done). My two year old typically takes closer to 30 as well. I like that they eat slowly, because when they're full, they stop. I don't want them bolting down their food before I snatch it away. Not that you're doing that at all. It's just a mindset.

    Answer by apexmommy at 5:45 PM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • uhm yea 20 mins is NOT enough time for a 3 yr old to eat! my son is 3 and gets 45 mins for his lunch and 20 mins for his snack at school. Its not right for you to force your child to rush and eat, thats just going to make him either sick or gag on his food for eating so fast. What are you running mini boot camp for 3 yr olds???

    Answer by ILovemyson1020 at 5:46 PM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • No, you were not too harsh. Also, they do NOT get more than 30 minutes for lunch in school and part of that 30 minutes is waiting in line to get milk or hot lunch. You did NOT force him to do anything. You taught him that mealtime is for eating, not fooling around. 20 minutes is plenty of time to eat a waffle. As for DH having your son sit at the table until the timer went off, if he was talking to your son, that is a good idea. It is a special time for dad and son to spend together. It also teaches him that you don't leave the table until everyone is done eating, that is good table manners.

    Answer by tyfry7496 at 11:25 PM on Oct. 7, 2009

  • I don't agree with setting a time limit on how FAST a child has to eat. To me, that has 'CHOKING HAZARD" stamped all over it. I'm just the type to let my son sit at the table til he falls asleep if he has to.


    Answer by LyTe684 at 12:31 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

  • it is ok for you to use the timer, but different time frames..



    *but youhave to remember they are kids and they are going to play at the table!!
    and you have to think does it take you a certian time to eat???

    but I know it will work......nice job mom!

    Answer by Linsigirl26 at 7:12 PM on Oct. 8, 2009

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