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3 year old behaviour at table-expecting too much?

(7 Posts)
Beatrixpotty Fri 24-May-13 21:15:41

Have I gone wrong somewhere?DS1 is 3.9 and has never been able to sit at a table at mealtimes for more than 5 minutes.He's not v interested in food & just wants to get down & play,he doesn't even ask.He demands attention even if everyone else is still eating,interrupting & begging us to come & play.We've only recently started eating tea together every night as a family so have noticed it more & it is spoiling meals.DS2 aged 2 is still in a high chair so is contained but is more content to sit & eat anyway.Also got a baby.Am I expecting too much for him to be able to sit through a family meal with main & pudding?DS1 goes to pre-school & eats lunch there & I'm not really sure what the rules are but I can't believe he behaves like this,it would drive a teacher mad.Have I been too relaxed at home & let him get into bad habits?What do other parents do?It has got to the point where eating out as a family is impossible unless it is really quick & family meals are just frustrating

MortifiedAdams Fri 24-May-13 21:23:41

we've only recently started eating together as a family

Therein lies the reason. It will take time but he will get there. Try doing the following every day and see how he is gettingon in a week or two:

1- give him a five minute warning "tidy up time in five minutes so we can sit at the table"
2- get all the toys tidied away before you all sit down
3- if he figits or isnt eating, ignore it amd carry on your conversation
4- if he asks to get down "we will all get down together when we are finshed". If he climbs down, put him back up
5- if he gets cross or constantly tries to demand excess attention "its dinnertime now, you can either eat and chat along with the rest of us or sit there til we are all ready to get down"

Its just a matter of him getting used to how things are going to be from now on.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Fri 24-May-13 22:02:50

I agree with Mortified. It's a new thing to him so he's just not there yet. I would try to engage with him lots over dinner...discuss things, play word type games...rhyming games...eating together is a social thing but for your average 3.9 year old, adult conversation isn't the most entertaining thing...even small person convos can bore them.

honeysmummy1 Fri 24-May-13 22:36:49

My three year old is the same. She sits down when dinner is ready makes a big fuss about juice. Drinks the juice, eats the most interesting thing on her plate then buggers off into the living room. We tried turning the telly off in the living room before dinner but she just runs from the kitchen back in the living room and makes a scene about the telly being off, which then interrupts our dinner. We have just learnt to ignore it now and she comes in and out as she pleases and picks at her dinner. She has always been a grazer. It will get better as he gets older. Their minds are too focused on other things at this age.

chickensaladagain Fri 24-May-13 22:46:34

You need to tell him your expectations before you sit down
-we stay at the table until everyone has finished
-you ask to leave the table
-how many drinks he is allowed with his meal if he's a picky eater it would be worthwhile limiting him to 1drink

Try and limit the length of meal times, start off with one course and build up

It is not an unrealistic expectation for him to sit at the table but if its a relatively new thing it will take practise and lots of praise

Beatrixpotty Sat 25-May-13 15:19:45

Thanks for replies.Will try some of these.He'll love the rhyming games.
Family evening meal has been going on for 2 months now since DS3 arrived.
I need to sort it out as I can see how much DS1 has on DS2 and don't want him to copy,otherwise with 3 DSs meals will be a nightmare.
Also my nieces & nephews of similar ages have very good table manners,especially the ones in full time nursery with no weekday family meals.At family get togethers my DS is the by far worst so reflects badly on me.
Hopefully this will improve.

BoysAreLikeDogs Sat 25-May-13 17:06:54

yes agree with the others, partic about one course only to begin with

sweetheart, it doesn't reflect badly on you, he's still v young, and you've got your hands full with 3 under 3 (OMG! getting a meal out for 3 under 3 - go you!)

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