oh my, getting a toddler to sit at the table during dinner time can be the MOST challenging part of my day. c will sit and eat for about 5-10 minutes and then she’ll start to stand in her seat, wander from the table, bring toys to the table, etc. as a new mama i have no clue when it’s the right time to teach c all the rules, but i definitely needed to put some guidelines in place so that mike and i could EAT or even have a conversation!
here are some fun things that have helped us and will hopefully creating a foundation to build on as c gets older…
- pray before our meal. i’m not great at reading c the bible, but i do hope to instill some foundations of faith and God. we always pray before our meal and these days c likes to sing her prayer~ which is just fine. i’m more concerned about the practice and the habit than how she’s praying (for now).
- bottom in her seat. she doesn’t have to be eating the entire time, but if mommy and daddy are sitting, she has to sit too.
- c is a pretty good eater so i’m not concerned if she finishes her plate. but i do want her to TRY everything that’s on it. i usually mix in 1 or 2 new things in a week (or old things i know she hates) so that i can keep exposing her to it. i really don’t want her to be a picky eater, so asking her to take one bite of something is my compromise. for instance, c hates tomatoes but i ask her to take one small bite of it in her salads or pasta each time. it’s ok for her to not like foods, but if she were to go to someone’s house, i want to avoid the “oh I’m sorry my child won’t eat that, do you have something else” convo.
- no interrupting. c is in her own little world when she eats and sits at the table. when mike and i are trying to catch up on the day, c will interrupt and become obnoxious about getting our attention. i’ve taught her to say “excuse me” when she wants to speak at the table/in the car/whenever adults are talking to each other. this one KINDA works b/c she will scream “excuse me, excuse meeee, EXCUSE MEEE!!” until we stop talking. sigh. bUTTTT again, i’m hoping it will set a foundation for her so she knows she needs to say something if she wants to butt into a conversation or interrupt something. we are currently working on indoor voices (when she uses this phrase… not sure when that will happen tho. oi)
- teach her SOME actual table manners while we’re together~ like chewing with her mouth closed, not standing in her chair, wiping her hands on a napkin (not me), using utensils, etc.
This is for sure a work in progress and one that we’ll keep changing/adjusting as she gets older. Now that C’s 3, seems like a good place to start. Next up…we’re gonna try to put together a Chore Chart! Wish us luckkkkk.
A good read if you want to get more tips on table manners, here’s a good article: