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How to get a 4 yr old to behave at the family dinner table!

(8 Posts)
Discomonkfish Sun 02-Jan-11 22:52:03

Any advice please...my ds is 4 years old..whenever we sit down for a family meal we go through the same rigmarole every time..everyone starts eating their meal and ds says he doesn't like it / want it. Sometimes even slides it across the table which results in an instant timeout. After the usual coercion he then will start to eat but will get out of his chair, kick his sisters chair and generally acts up. We have tried reward charts, warnings etc. We generally always end up with a timeout before he finally sits down and eats his meal. It's driving my dh and I mad! Any advice please....?

dietqueen Sun 02-Jan-11 22:58:26

I feel for you our 5 yr old is the same - my own fault I let him have all meals in lounge on a tray but sunday's at table as its the only time we are together

dietqueen Sun 02-Jan-11 23:00:34

what I do is get him to set table and really praise him.

Also we have a jug of juice on table and I get him to do a the special job of poring everyones drink.

We also play games such as "Who can eat their brocolli the quickest" who can get a green bean AND a piece of chicken on their fork and eat it first

The winner gets a chocolate etc... We always make sure he wins and praise him loads.

Hubby says things like "This is gorgeous, the best dinner yet Mummy , thank you"

HellinArcher Sun 02-Jan-11 23:00:52

I'd say you are effectively giving your ds lots of attention for his behaviour - time outs, coercion to eat etc.

Assuming he is being given food that you know he does like or will eat, the first time he slides his food away and says he doesn't like it, you say "oh dear, never mind" and remove it. end of. no persuasion, chat or anything. he gets one chance to have the plate back and eat, otherwise goes without.

he has to stay at the table nicely to be given the option of pudding (fruit or yoghurt, nothing too exciting).

if he doesn't eat for one meal or two, he will survive - don't give him food later if he won't eat at the table.

cat64 Sun 02-Jan-11 23:06:39

Message withdrawn

Discomonkfish Sun 02-Jan-11 23:14:28

Thanks all....yes we always sit at the table in the kitchen, dh is usually working so he joins us some dinner times and weekends etc..will definitely try getting him more involved think that's a great idea..can't see the wood for the trees sometimes I think and yes I'm sure the attention we give him is encouraging him...we have tried to take his food away but we've given more than one chance so I'll try the 1 strike and your out and be more consistent...fingers crossed thanks again!

dietqueen Sun 02-Jan-11 23:17:09

we also get ds to be the waiter and take our "order" before I dish up.

Also do a "survey" afterwards ie. what was the best vegetable, who ate nicely at the table etc... only do this when its gettign really bad!

Discomonkfish Sun 02-Jan-11 23:20:14

LOL....I'll try anything dietqueen

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