Thursday, February 12, 2009

Managing kids who won't sit down at the dinner table

I was fortunate to give a presentation on family meals to a group of lovely mothers in Ridgewood, NJ yesterday. One concern that several of the mothers shared was that their children would not sit during meals. Having daughters with varying degrees of hyperactivity myself, I am very familiar with kids who sometimes sit sideways, sit with only one leg on the chair, lie down, and/or stand up during meals. This can be very frustrating to say the least! Some moms complained that their kids behavior sometimes makes them want to avoid the family meal altogether even though they realize its benefits. So here are a few tips for trying to make mealtimes a positive experience for everyone.

  • Once in a while try to make some meals extra-special (e.g., picnic night, candlelight night)
  • Make teaching manners into a game, where children can earn tokens/points for good manners
  • Keep the conversation positive. Some ideas for conversation starters: What was the best/worst part of your day? What are you thankful for today? If you could go on a vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? If you could have any special superhero power, what would it be and why?
  • And finally, manage your expectations for how long your children can actually sit at the table - for some children it may only be 15-20 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be sure to include your email address or email me at if you'd like to be considered for any giveaways.