This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
meal times 'seen & not heard'(4 Posts)
How did our parents, and previous generations get children to sit nicely during meals and family visits etc?
Just had lunch at PILs - family visiting. On the whole my kids (4 & 20 months) did well. Ate most of their meal etc. There was a bit of getting up from table, particularly 20 month as he was sat on a small stool which was a bit of a novelty and a small amount of mess.
Anyway, MIL made a comment today that her children (my dh & his brother) sat nicely from a very young age. She said her parents weren't as relaxed as her and would have asked them all to leave if meals were chaos. I asked her directly how she did it, what did parents do differently then and her only answer was the 'culture was different, children had to be quiet'. But how?
The last meal we had there (Easter Sunday) was a disaster, 4 year old being very silly l, drink spilt, toddler not really eating and general mess / chaos so I think that was still fresh in her mind as today they were pretty good.
She does have a habit of stating how her children slept through from 6 weeks, always ate beautifully, never fought etc but can never give any actual advice on how she never gives an tips.
Anyway, just interested
I think our parents generation were much stricter, as a kid I was scared of my parents so I never stepped out of line or if I did it was rare. We were more likely to be smacked etc. Parents these days (I include myself in this) are much, much more lax and therefore kids tend to (not all - before anyone bites my head off!!) backchat and mess around for us more.
Just my own personal observations
I am quite strict about sitting nicely at the table and manners. I don't allow getting up from the table or messing about with food. If either of those happened when mine were toddlers then food would be removed. Things like waiting for everyone to finish before asking to leave the table and asking to pass food rather than reaching across have been implemented as soon as they were old enough to be out of a high chair.
I think some children are less messy than others, but then often I see children being allowed to eat with hands not helped to cut up food or with plates that are too full so more mess happens than is necessary.
I also think sometimes children notice when the pressure is on to behave and sometimes behave negatively. I am firm but I try not to be overly naggy or cross at mealtimes, during the week it's generally just me and the children and meals are chatty times with barely any focus on food or behaviour. At weekends when DH is home things seem to be more tense, he gets cross and the little kids play up more.
I think people have selective memories.