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Mealtimes

(4 Posts)
Pigeonpost Sat 20-Aug-16 19:11:53

I am sick to death of mealtimes with my kids. They are 7, 5 and 3. I plan meals, do all the shopping, cook from scratch (I'm a SAHM) and we all sit at the table together to eat. But the little shits won't behave. The older two mess around being silly, shouting, screaming, burping, arguing and saying stupid things. The little one pisses around and usually wanders off then comes back hungry later on (his dinner gets left for him, don't get me wrong).

We went abroad on holiday for a week. Lovely but we were self catering so the same old meal planning/shopping/cooking/pissing around at the table rigmarole and frankly I wish we hadn't bothered. I'm sick of telling them off during meals. They are marginally better in restaurants but only if we take little toys to keep them occupied whilst we wait for the food. We don't allow toys on the dining table at home because it's just another distraction.

I want to enjoy family meals without stupid little boys being idiotic, messing around, picking through their food and moaning that they don't like stuff (which they actually do). I've had enough. The older two have school dinners where they belt their food down as quickly as possible in order to maximise playtime but at home it's messing around and taking forever to eat.

Is a "two strikes and you're out" response too draconian? We've tried fining them from their meagre pocket money ( earned by having one daily chore each: one sets the table, the other clears it) but they don't really have a significant enough grasp of money to be bothered enough to modify their behaviour at the table. I don't want to send them up to their room (or to sit on a step etc), I just want them to eat their fucking dinner like little human beings, not noisy animals. DH seems to find them amusing but he's not the one who has planned/prepared and cooked everything. We're eating healthily at the moment so quick fix meals like pizza/takeaway/chips don't/won't feature. They aren't even fussy eaters and do clear their plates eventually. It's just the lack of respect and manners I can't cope with and it's just not sinking in.

Am I expecting too much? Help!!

skankingpiglet Sat 20-Aug-16 22:47:24

Mine are younger so I've not hit this phase yet, but what stands out to me from your post is your "DH seems to find it amusing". Quietly sniggering about behaviour which he finds funny, but that is ultimately undesirable. DCs pick up on it no matter how discretely they think they are doing it. My DH can also be guilty of this and it drives me up the wall as well as totally undermining my requests. Your need to get him on board to provide a united front for starters.

As for a suitable punishment for cocking about at the table, hopefully a more seasoned parent will be along soon with ideas. My 2yo still responds favourably to the threat of my getting to '3' grin

maisybobbins Sat 20-Aug-16 23:08:40

I totally understand why this drives you insane. You aren't asking too much of them to just sit and eat and maybe talk.

My DS age 4 started being a monkey at nursery dinners - throwing food at the windows and just messing about. I was so embarrassed when they told me this. The way they dealt with it was to immediately move him to the baby room to eat which he hated. It worked.

So I wonder whether you can have a baby table and a grown up table. The best behaved earns a place at your table maybe? And they get demoted if they can't behave? Just an idea. Good luck!

maisybobbins Sat 20-Aug-16 23:09:08

I totally understand why this drives you insane. You aren't asking too much of them to just sit and eat and maybe talk.

My DS age 4 started being a monkey at nursery dinners - throwing food at the windows and just messing about. I was so embarrassed when they told me this. The way they dealt with it was to immediately move him to the baby room to eat which he hated. It worked.

So I wonder whether you can have a baby table and a grown up table. The best behaved earns a place at your table maybe? And they get demoted if they can't behave? Just an idea. Good luck!

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