How to Get Kids to Sit at the Table

How to get kids to sit at that table

How to get kids to sit at the table. A common question that I get is how to get kids (particularly toddlers and preschoolers) to come to (and stay at) the table for meals. The best way is to set a rule that all meals and snacks are eaten at a table. As seen through a toddler’s or preschooler’s eyes: “Why is it that sometimes can I eat while playing. But other times I’m told that I have to stop playing and sit at a table to eat (which is bo-ring).”

Create the expectation that all meals and snacks are eaten at the table. In families who set this expectation, kids come to the table when called. They eat. And then they continue on with their day (i.e. go back to playing). Meals and snack go much more smoothly and are less stressful because the kids aren’t constantly getting up from the table.

Does this mean that you never get to leave the house again? No. In the summer this is especially easy. Stop at the park bench, picnic table, or spread out a blanket and enjoy a snack.

Use similar ingenuity at indoor locations. For example, you can stop at the bench in the recreation centre foyer or use a table at the food court at the mall.

The important point is to stop. Don’t feed your child in the stroller, car seat, etc. And, don’t hand out a snack while your child continues playing.

I know that it’s tempting to do so in our busy lives. But, it sets you up for more battles at meals and snacks. What seems like an efficient use of time in the immediate, actually costs you more time in the long run.

In families who establish the stop-to-eat expectation, meals and snacks are very quick. And, they are much more pleasant. When it’s meal and snack time the kids simply get down to the business of eating.

Simply put: stop, eat, then continue on.

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