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How do you keep at the table for meals?

I have two kids a daughter 4 and son 2 they both love to eat. When it comes to the meal at the table they eat a little then want to get up and play and come back like it a 24/7 diner. I feel I have tried everything from locking high chairs, special placemates, telling them to ask if they can leave and good old just telling them to sit and finish. Nothing is working and we are getting frustrated. My daughter always seem to be the one that starts it all and my son you can never tell if he wants to get up to use the potty. He say potty then we get up to go and he wants to start playing. By the time I reach my plate and get them back to the table my husband is done and watching tv and my food is stone cold. How do I do I handle this by myself. I don't have a hands on dad in fact he is very hands off unless we are around family.

Mommy in need please help.

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Asked by mommy1girl1boy at 2:31 PM on Aug. 13, 2010 in General Parenting

Level 3 (25 Credits)
Answers (10)
  • I'd make them sit and eat. Once they get up I would put their food in the fridge and not let them have it. It sounds like they are trying to snack more than eat.

    Answer by SabrenaLeigh at 2:33 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • You are the mommy here, and you should be the one in charge. Start having everybody potty before coming to the table and tell them nobody leaves until everybody is finished with the meal. There will be no exceptions. Then you must enforce your own rules. There may be protesting, but you are not to relent. Bad habits are hard to break, but they can be broken. So just start today and follow through. Children have to learn to respect the rest of the family and their needs, and this is an excellent place to start.

    Answer by NannyB. at 2:36 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • My 2 yr old eats and then gets up too. It's kind of part of the age IMO. I give up arguing. I redirect him a lot. He doesn't really play though, he just gets up and walks around the diningroom or porch, depends where we are eating. He paces and messes with things, which is playing, but doesn't go to his toys. His dad and I just put him in his seat have him take a bite, or if he is really fidgity we just feed him as he paces around. They do grow out of it. I would concentrate on the older one though, as the younger is following her lead. She is old enough she should start to sit. Are all the toys and things out of site? Tv off? No distraction? or as little distraction as possible. And remember, they aren't going to starve. My son eats all day long too, I never deprive him off food. But his snacks are usually fruits and veggies, yogurt. Not a lot of sugary things are even here.

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 2:37 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Oh yeah, your hubby needs to get on board too. It all needs to be consisten from both. Make your hubby take your son to the bathroom sometimes. He helped make the kids, he should raise them too.

    Answer by 2BlondeBabies at 2:38 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Its just there age.. They are so active, its hard to make them sit down. Try to maybe read a story while they eat... but i wouldn't worry to much about it, it is just a stage.

    Answer by MKSers at 3:10 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • My God son was this way. What worked was not rewarding the behavior.

    If I were in your shoes, I'd try one of two things. Thing one? We all sit here til dinner is finished and you are excused. If drama ensues, timeout. And no more food.

    Thing two? Once they get up, they do not get to come back. If the potty thing is an "excuse" I'd start having everyone go potty/wash hands before dinner.

    Answer by BuddyRoo at 4:07 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Before the meal starts, tell them when they get up, the meal is finished. When they get up from the table, take their plate and put it away. Don't give them any more food until the next planned meal/snack. They aren't going to starve, even if it's the last meal of the day.

    Answer by missanc at 5:02 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Do they snack throughout the afternoon? With my boys I have found that if I don't let them after 3:30 or so then they actually stay at the table and eat dinner (we usually eat between 5:30 and 6). They are 2 1/2 and 3 1/2. We were experiencing the same thing you are. If they do not eat much dinner and I know it is a dinner that they like I put it in the fridge and when they ask for a snack before bed that is what they get. We also make sure we are talking to them at dinner. DH and I want to talk and catch up on each other's day but we do the same with them. We ask them questions about their day (well, dh does since he wasn't with us all day) and keep them engaged in the conversation. This helps them to sit at the table longer as well.

    Answer by JamieLK at 5:20 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • Your DH should be with them at the table and engaging them in conversation, keeping them at the table. WHY is he eating,then leaving the table and watching TV??? He is setting a bad example. No wonder the kids won't stay at the table. Your DH is immature. Make him stay. We always had "family dinners" , sat together and talked. we insisted everyone stay until we were all done eating. I didn't have to duct tape them to the chairs.

    Answer by gertie41 at 5:41 PM on Aug. 13, 2010

  • I thank you guys for all your great ideas. I will over the next few days be giving a few of them a try and see what happens. To answer a few over your questions my kids last snacks are around 3pm and we eat around 5-5:30pm. I have been trying to get my husband does need to get on board but I have been trying to get him on board for 4 years. He will has gotten better, I know he was not raised like me bad family habits. My kids lots of healthy food as I don't really like sugars in my house. They do go potty and wash hands before eating my son is two and potty training so I allow him to get up and go. In the past when I keep him at the table he has gone potty at the table. I don't duct tape them I used high chairs when little, now for my son use a boster cause he is to short to reach the table. I do make sure we have no tv or radio on however the toy room is right next to the kitchen which I make sure is cleaned up before mea

    Comment by mommy1girl1boy (original poster) at 1:44 PM on Aug. 14, 2010

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