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What age do you think a child should be made to sit at the table for an entire meal?

(38 Posts)
ceebee74 Sun 24-Aug-08 21:46:46

DS (2.1) has decided that he doesn't want to sit in his booster seat now for meals which means that he can get down from his chair whenever he feels like it - would you enforce him sitting at the table until everyone has finished from this age or is it too young? If so, how (bearing in mind he is a very independent, stubborn little boy!)

nell12 Sun 24-Aug-08 21:51:26

2.1 is still very young to stay sitting for a whole meal and is probably quite boring for him too.
I would encourage him to stay in his seat for the entirity of the time that he is eating each course and then let him have a run around between dinner and pudding.

DeeRiguer Sun 24-Aug-08 21:51:45

he sounds too young to stay there for duration
its boring for them...

bodiddly Sun 24-Aug-08 21:54:11

I have always made ds sit through meals at home but if we are out with friends etc and the meal is taking a long time then I let him get down between courses and have a run around/do some colouring.

Heated Sun 24-Aug-08 21:54:27

I'm quite strict on this so aware I'll be out of step with some. DD is a similar age and she has to sit in her booster seat - dinner isn't served anywhere else!

I don't make her sit there for the entire meal until everyone is finished as ds(4) can chat & eat for about an hour! But she can't get up and wonder away during her meal.

KatyMac Sun 24-Aug-08 21:55:06

Why is it boring?
Mealtimes are a lovely family time

The children (over ones and not poorly) sit at my table while dinner is served, until everyone has finished, then pudding is served and no one gets down until everyone has finished

TBH it is one of my favourite times talking about our day and what we are planning to do

MmeLindt Sun 24-Aug-08 21:55:19

Still too young. I would let him down once he has finished eating.

If eating in a restaurant with some time between courses I would let him down inbetween, otherwise he should stay in his seat.

My DCs are 6yo and 4yo and I don't make them sit until everyone is finished eating if we are out for a meal. They do at home, unless we are sitting chatting for ages.

southeastastra Sun 24-Aug-08 21:55:19

i'd just let him run free and get on with it

bozza Sun 24-Aug-08 21:56:07

Not the answer you are after, but mine have always stayed at the table with us since they were first weaned. They are allowed to leave the table once everyone has finished eating, so if the adults remain having a drink and a chat the children can ask to leave the table.

TBH though it is usually one or other of the chidren who is last to finish. And I find if one child leaves the table, then the other child will all of a sudden decide they are full, whether or not this is genuinely the case.

I am quite strict on certain things though.

FluffyMummy123 Sun 24-Aug-08 21:57:05

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GivePeasAChance Sun 24-Aug-08 21:57:20

I agree Katy Mac - my answer is FROM the BEGINNING.

I don't see that it is boring, and it is also manners. We have had some fights about it, but I don't care !

KatyMac Sun 24-Aug-08 21:59:14

DD rarely gets to eat with 1 child at the table - but pre-minding she didn't get up either. I didn't start minding until she was 5.

bozza Sun 24-Aug-08 22:00:01

but cod surely it is more important with siblings? If DS finishes and gets down, DD will not eat any more. I make their friends stay at the table too. But that is only for the children, because DH and I do not eat with visiting children (unless it is family or children of our friends).

expatinscotland Sun 24-Aug-08 22:00:13

Well, I don't have just one child and both girls (5 and 2.8) sit at the table for the entire meal.

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 24-Aug-08 22:00:54

DS is the same age and abandoned the high chair some time ago so just sits on a normal chair. I don't make him stay in his seat if he has finished eating, but I do say 'Do you want to get down?', as I was always taught this as a child. I'm happy for him to get down between courses as well if it is a long meal.

Sometimes he is happy to sit with me and DH to chat (as much convo as a 2 yr old can manage!), but other times, esp if it is just me on my own, he wants to get down. He knows that the table is where we eat meals, and I don't think it's worth making a battle out of this one atm.

ceebee74 Sun 24-Aug-08 22:00:54

I don't really have an opinion on what is 'right' or 'wrong' about this - it is just a comment from my mum <sigh> tonight about how he should really stay at the table whilst people are still eating (we do let him get down if he has finished).

He doesn't eat much but does mess about a lot with his food - he has started getting down and then getting back up again etc. I guess I do need to enforce that he only gets down once he has finished - or if he starts to get down, tell him that his meal will be removed.

FluffyMummy123 Sun 24-Aug-08 22:01:08

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FluffyMummy123 Sun 24-Aug-08 22:01:24

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GivePeasAChance Sun 24-Aug-08 22:02:01

I just imagine them at someone else's house / or at school amd just 'finishing' and buggering off. Really bad manners.

AbbaFan Sun 24-Aug-08 22:02:12

I have always made mine sit at the table.

They have time to run about the rest of the day.

I think you need to start as you mean to go on.

bozza Sun 24-Aug-08 22:03:57

My nephew gets up and down and stuff, and it makes it harder to get my two (well DD really) to eat sensibly. Was it a drawn out family gathering?

Actually at 2.1 mine were both still in booster seat, but not sure if DD was still fastened in or not? DS certainly was, but he would probably still sit in it if we hadn't suggested he was getting a bit old.

BoysAreLikeDogs Sun 24-Aug-08 22:04:09

Sit to table

Wait til all have finished

Thank yous before leaving the table

<<bangs gavel>>

Twiga Sun 24-Aug-08 22:04:18

Our dd is just approaching 3, been on chair without booster since 2.3 ish not too bad at sitting but really enjoys the social aspect of eating which helps. She will get up and down a bit at times, and can really chance her arm some meals - we do try and encourage her to sit until everyone has finished where poss. For the last couple of months we've started insisting that she asks to be excused from the table and have made an effort to excuse ourselves too if we're getting up for stuff during the meal - really just again to try and get across that meal times are for sharing time together etc. I'm not really sure that we ever really thought through meal times consciously but from very small we have sat our dcs (even when in high chairs) at the table if a meal is happening, even if they've eaten earlier so they've always been part of that time, and taken them out to eat with us, and I think probably that that has helped just give them a sense that meal times are a time to sit and chat etc.

I think enforcing anything too hard at this point may compound the prob of your ds getting up and down but if you can think of ways of keeping him included around the table he may just learn to sit for longer/enjoy sitting even when he's finished. You may find too that he'll sit for longer once the novelty of being able to "escape" has worn off a little - it's just an age where they are so pleased when they can do anything themselves. Lots of praise for staying put and not too much of a reaction for any mucking about.

Sorry this is all a bit rambly and wishy washy, mainly because never really thought about it all that much but I hope it makes sense iyswim.

GivePeasAChance Sun 24-Aug-08 22:05:48

I am sure we have all spent the entire meal saying " sit down" " sit down" " wait until everyone is finished"....murmuring swear words and insults.............but table manners for me are one of those arguments worth taking on !

RhinestoneCowgirl Sun 24-Aug-08 22:08:04

Although I would add that DS is fairly 'serious' about his food, and once he has pushed his plate away and stacked his cup and cutlery on it, he has definitely finished eating!

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