Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Talk to me Tuesday... Mealtime

I'm coming to you for ideas.

  • Problem: Fischer will NOT stay seated to complete a meal in a timely fashion. He is on and off his seat, playing, talking, etc. Mealtime takes forever, he eats very little, Andy and I get frustrated.
  • How we actually caused the problem: We have eaten one too many meals at the coffee table.
  • What we've tried: Holding dessert over his head - could care less. Put the high chair back in action - this keeps him in place, but does not ensure that he actually eats.

Obviously, we need to get our family back to the kitchen table, but then what? Any ideas? What works for you? Am I expecting too much?


amandaj.brown said...

Materials needed:

Small Glas Jar
Marbles, Lego's, glass beads, gumballs, etc. (Something colorful)

How it works:

Sit down with Fischer, talk to him about meal time, explain the problem and talk about the desired action. This is a game on positive reinforcement only. You can only put "marbles" in the jar, never take them out. Purchase an incentive beforehand, something he REALLY wants. Place the incentive next to the marble jar, explain when the jar is full he can have the "toy". Once he fills the jar with "marbles", let him have the incentive and start working on something new. Make sure the jar is not too big, if it takes too long to fill the jar, he will lose interest.


It's dinner time, Fischer sits down at the table: "Yay Fischer, what a good boy sitting at the table like a grown up! You get a marble, let's put a marble in the jar." Let HIM put the marble in the jar. "Clank!"

Five minutes into dinner and Fisher is eating: "Yay Fischer, what a good boy sitting at the table like a grown up and eating your meal! You get a marble, let's put a marble in the jar." Let HIM put the marble in the jar. "Clank!"

Fischer tries something new: "Yay Fischer, what a good boy trying new foods! You get a marble, let's put a marble in the jar." Let HIM put the marble in the jar. "Clank!"

Fischer finishes something on his plate: "Yay Fischer, what a good boy for finishing your potatoes! You get a marble, let's put a marble in the jar." Let HIM put the marble in the jar. "Clank!"

Fischer stays sitting at teh dinner table for 3-5 minutes: "Yay Fischer, what a good boy for sitting at the table! You get a marble, let's put a marble in the jar." Let HIM put the marble in the jar. "Clank!"

Everything matters... Praise him for everything at meal times.

You'll laugh it get's funny, it get's old fast, but it works.

We broke Ansleigh of tattling in three days.

Brian and Courtni said...

We fought Brett on this for a while, but then just decided to not fight anymore...if he didn't eat, he didn't eat, and if he got down then he was down and dinner was over for him. he learned really quick that if he was really hungry that he better stay and eat and if he wasn't, then it was okay that he was done. i think that sometimes kids go through phases when they aren't growing as much and really aren't that hungry, so then they just goof around. when we stopped making it a big deal, it stopped being a big deal. good luck!

Angela said...

I might try that marble in the jar idea for potty training. Or maybe a sticker chart. (Nicky still puts small things like marbles in his mouth.)

We have the same issue at mealtimes. I think Nicky's only slightly younger than Fischer. We try always eating at the table, but especially when we're sick, like this week, we eat a lot at the coffee table.

We've gone with just telling him that if he gets down then he's done and we put him in the family room. We have the kitchen/dining gated off since the dogs stay in there, so once he's out he can't just walk back in.

I don't think this has fixed our problem really. But it does keep him from being able to crawl around on the floor with the dogs under the table.

Nicky's just been a really picky off-again/on-again eater for a while. I think Brian's right on that one. When they're not growing they just aren't hungry. And I worry I'm teaching him to pay attn to the clock instead of his hunger if I force him to eat at certain times.

Good luck! If you do find something that works, please post it so I can steal it. :)

Amie said...

We have the same problem in our house too. I just decided that it wasn't worth fighting Quinn on it. I always make sure our dinner includes something she will eat, for instance she won't eat tacos but she will eat refried beans so we always have beans with Mexican food. If she chooses not to eat then she doesn't get anything else after dinner. We really stick to this rule. If she is still hungry then she can have left overs but she usually doesn't want them. More than once she has gone to bed without eating but I don't worry. If she is really hungry she will eat. We do make her sit at the table the whole time we are at the table though. I heard a pediatrician say once that it was amazing kids this age grow at all because they just refuse to eat usually. I decided this battle was not one worth fighting. I do however really like the marble idea and I think we will use it for the whining issue we have recently encountered.

Karrie said...

He'll outgrow it, I promise. To speed up the process take away daytime snacking, or time them right with your meals and make them small, then he'll be truly hungry for a meal, and will intake more of the good stuff. Kids will not let themselves starve, and all of mine seem to go through ups and downs with their appetite. We don't have a dining room table because of the trailer- the kids have a kid table and we eat on the couch. Not ideal at all. Both boys have had a hard time sitting. Ed still doesn't use silverware very well; I just think he's a caveman. Oh, I've also had to institute the "You leave the table and you are finished with your meal." And, I don't do snacks. (Unless they ate a good meal and are now starving...and driving me nuts.)Good luck momma!

Mom2-2goodboys said...

I really believe this is just a stage he is going through. We must remember that children only eat when they are hungry and they will only eat till they are full. Don't let his lack of staying seated and not eating too much get the best of you.

Continue to have meals at the table. When he is done, let him go. As long as he is not causing any problems "Enjoy the rest of your meal". I promise you, Fisher will not starve. As he gets older his appetite will improve (and so will his sitting skills) and eventually, as all boys do, "he will be eating you out of house and home".

Someone very wise (my mother) once told me "if you make food and issue, it will become an issue later on in life".

Enjoy your day with Fisher!
Mary~ (mom of 2 boys, sister to 5 brothers)

Lisa said...

Thank you everyone for the fabulous advice and ideas! It sounds like most of you are going for the relax and it will pass idea. AND the when you are down you are done idea (which scares me because I worry about a hungry tummy not going to sleep!)> But I see what you are all saying, and I can see how taking the pressure and stress off can help. The snack curnbing idea you had, Karrie, will probably help too. You all are the best and this is why it is so fun to blog. because moms can help each other!!!

Amanda - seriously, what is up with the engineer writing behavior plans for the special ed teacher?? Bravo - I love it! Welcome to Motherhood - it sounds like the role suits you perfectly!