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How do I get my 3 year old to sit and eat his whole meal without getting up?

We also have another baby in the house. Usually, to get him to eat his supper he tells me to feed him like a baby, so, I feed it to him. It's got to stop. I know at daycare he sits down and eats his whole lunch. How do I get him to do it at home?


Asked by delta27 at 12:51 PM on Dec. 17, 2008 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (10)
  • My son does this too and we don't have a baby. I think it is just an attention thing, but don't give into him. You have to remember at daycare, they won't feed him and then he'll just be hungry. Maybe a time or two of that will stop him (I know it sounds cruel). My cousin also had the getting up problem with her girls. She made the rule, if they got up - the plates went away. No more dinner - once or twice is all it took. This rule applied to her 4 yr old too. Trust me - no more getting up. :) Good Luck!

    Answer by Amyh3 at 1:50 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • Tie him to the chair. Just joking!! You probably will need to sit at the table with him the whole time he is eating. to reinforce the sit while you are eating rule.


    Answer by louise2 at 1:00 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • He feeds himself or he doesn't eat. You don't have to be mean or nasty about it. Just nicely tell him that you want to eat your own food too. Let him know how much help it is to you that he can feed himself and how much you enjoy eating with him. If he refuses to lift a fork and whines through the whole meal, let him. Just eat yours and put his away when you are done. He won't starve. But be sure to let him know how much help he is when he does a "big boy" thing.

    If he gets up and leaves the table, just clear his place. Again, you don't have to be mean. Just say "I assume you are done eating since you are leaving the table".

    Answer by kaycee14 at 1:00 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • thanks for posting this question you helped me out too. my 5 yr old wont stay at the table for nothing.....

    Answer by bonnie-jo at 2:36 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • For my son we turned it into a game of who was going to get done first. JUST INITIALLY. Later if i had problems wit hhim he'd leave the table and go sit in time out. Left him there for a few minutes then asked him if he was ready to eat. If he didn't eat his dinner he'd go straight to bed - I never had to enforce that - he ate.

    Answer by Momma_Davis at 2:50 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • Be consisted in letting he know that he needs to be stted while eatting

    Answer by oracao at 4:41 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • My son does this also, I have two older children and we all eat dinner together apart from my son who walks around the dinner table. I think a child of 4 should be able to sit through a meal without getting up....short of super glue I wish I had an answer, if anyone else has would love to know it!!!

    Answer by Anonymous at 5:31 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • First off I never force my almost three year old and four year old to finish a whole meal. Some times they like to come back to their plate so I never toss it right away to avoid wasting food. My almost three year old still sits in a high chair and she eats better that way. I'd just make him eat himself. if you baby a kid they'll continue with the bad or weird behavior. To get my girls to eat themselves I gave them a spoon as soon as they were old enough to grip one. I'd just do like I tell my daughters if they wanted a rediculus request at dinner.... Oh well eat.... if not you must not be that hungry.

    Answer by jennifer8585 at 8:03 PM on Dec. 17, 2008

  • I know this will come off as being mean and how terrible but my son started doing the same thing at 3 years so I just told him in a nice voice everyone in the family feeds themselves and if you can't feed yourself while everyone is eating then you don't get dinner. I did this for 3 straight days during dinner, lets just say he started feeding himself at dinner from then on.

    Answer by Crystal_flan at 3:40 AM on Dec. 18, 2008

  • He feeds himself or he doesn't eat...if he gets down from the table, remove his plate. For the first time, just take it to the kitchen counter. When he gets upset (he probably will) then tell him that if he wants to sit and eat, he can have his plate back...but if he gets up again, he's done. (and it's very much a likelihood that he will be done before the plate is clean...I put smaller portions on the plate than what I know they "can" eat. They can then ask for more or have dessert...applesauce, fruit or pudding type of thing..grazing is not an option here)

    And about "tying them to the chair"....not a bad idea! lol Actually, because of the height of our table and chairs, I used a harness to keep my then 1 year old from falling out of the chair! (he broke the high chair and we didn't see the point in buying a new one) But it was a safety issue.


    Answer by TiccledBlue at 5:42 AM on Dec. 18, 2008