What are your dinner time rules?

Many of us grew up hearing it: "Clear your plate. There are starving children in [your foreign country of choice here] that would be grateful for your food." And so on. Do you make your children clear their plate, or do you have other rules or guidelines for dinner time?

26  Answers

0 0

Dinner time at our house does have some rules. It may sound like a lot, but it keeps things under control and I think learning to behave at meal time is a good thing that will serve my sons well.
1. Both boys help set the table - one puts out the plates, the other puts out the cutlery
2. We say grace at every meal
3. We take turns talking (nobody talking or shouting over anyone else :D)
4. Eat until you are satisfied - if you don't eat dinner, there is nothing sweet afterwards
5. Table manners are important. Use your napkin to wipe your hands/mouth. No talking with food in your mouth and please chew with your mouth closed.
6. Say thank you when you are finished eating to whomever cooked the meal, and take your plate to the counter.

Sometimes the boys need gentle reminders, but they are still young (4 and 7). We talk and laugh a lot during mealtimes, and everyone knows what is expected of them when it comes to behaviour.

8
8 1

I like your focus on manners and having both of your boys help set the table.

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162 6

No. I think that there are a lot of children who end up with weight problems from eating more than their tummy's say they need. I think they need to try everything on their plate (it's a struggle in my house) but they don't have to finish it all. If they're still hungry, I do tell my kids they can have the dinner leftovers, but I do let them have fruit or yogurt if they really don't like what I made. I never make them eat it at the next meal or force them to sit there until it's gone. I'm a picky eater, and I don't eat foods I don't like either! Imagine how you would feel if you had to eat a plate full of something you hated! I won't do that to my kids, since I feel like they'd only be angry and resentful, and the whole thing would just backfire! This is just not a battle I'm willing to put my foot down on. I think there's a gray area where they try some of it, so we're all happy!

I have found that my kids will try foods at a neighbor's house that they would not eat for me. My daughter came home asking for broccoli, and my son told me he loved fish, both from trying it at their friend's house. I called the mom and thanked her, and asked how she made it!

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10 0

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7 24

Dinner time rules for us: Our kids aren't told that they have to eat everything but they at least have to try it (if its new) no dessert if you don't it your supper though, or nearly all of it. Finish your milk, no jucie, milk or water only. No toys at the table and once they are older no phones at the table.

7
107 20

so they are allowed to have phones at the table when they are little? lol

5 0

Only put a small amount on their plates and if they want more then and only then should you give them more. But yes, I heard that growing up and it really develops over eating habits..

4
15 20

All I would like to say here is that dinner time is to be a stressfree time. It is time to talk with your children and see how their day was and family time.It is a time to find out about everyone not just one person. If they have eaten the "right" amount of fruit and veges and meat then they should not have to clean the plate. I think it is a good idea to use a smaller plate so they don't take as much as theit eyes want instead of their tummy's then there is less waste.

3
3 15

We always sit at the table no TV or radio. My son helps set the table and put out all condiments and he always puts napkins out. We talk about our day , how school was or just stuff. My son is 8 and no we don't make him clear his plate.He eats till he is done. Once we are all done he has to help clear the table put everything back were it belongs and will help wipe the table down.

1
25 7

i have three year old twins and one eats like theres no tomoro and the other one barely eats at all of course being a first time mum went to doctors and was told repeatedly she will eat wen she is hungry i was bought up to eat everything on my plate nothing bout famines in other countries it was just the rule we also dont have dessert very often any way if u are worried about wasting food put less on ur childs plate and if they r still hungry afterwards have fruit and yoghurt available i also try on a regular basis to introduce new things to my girls and i have also found that wen they help "cook" dinner they will eat more of it by this i mean they stand on chairs in kitchen far away from anything hot and will put the peelings from vegies in bin or unwrap meat from packets they love it i also have another idea that if u puree up some vegies and add them to cheese sauce and pour over pasta it is yum and kids love it and they get there vegies

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0 0

I ask my kids to try everything, but they do not have to like it. I tell them to only eat until they are full. I trust them to know their bodies. BUT, when I have one ask for ice cream or sweets shortly after dinner knowing she didn't eat very much dinner, I quickly remind her that she said she was full, but not finished. I stick to my word and don't back down. They know I say what I mean and will not give in. They are more honest with me when I am upfront and honest with them about the rules. We sit at the table as a family every night for dinner, no exceptions! No toys, no TV, no phones. Just us!

My 4 year old doesn't eat a lot at once so I started giving her portions one at a time. She'll eat some cucumbers, then some chicken, then some broccoli. I think she gets overwhelmed at all that food in front of her at once.

1
9 0

I think with children consistency is the key for sucessful mealtimes.I insisted my children all sit at the table for meals.It was considered special family time and they grew up with the same routine.They tell me now that meal times are the most enjoyable because everybody is able to share their day with each other.I lead by example and put small portions of food on their plates and told them they must finish what is there.No, I did not make those lectures of starving children...they needed to learn about portions and how much their body needs..Growing up I cooked their meals at home no take out or junk food..!!!

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13 0

Ok everyone! There is to many no's going on with too many rules at the table. If you provide healthy foods you don't have to be that concern about your child being over weight
Thats one statement I hear another one is eat all your food drink all your milk eat all your veggies. If you were a child would you wanna be at the dinner table? It starts from small how you train your child. Meal times should be happy enjoyable
There is to many things to address here if you are not careful
The main thing is have a few set rules not to many no's and if they don't finish their food it's not the end of the world. If they don't eat don't worry they will when they get hungry
Just keep fresh foods and snacks in the house so the kids are not expose to process foods
So they don't have a struggle for food or snack choices
We are the patent and we control what comes in the home
I know a friend who's child is 3 and still don't know there is a toy isle in the store
So she have no fights with him he does not scream trow temper tantrums ect
We can talk all day about this but the main thing is remember about how you would feel if you were there or if you were there how did it make you feel
Thanks
Social worker

1
6 10

I give my step-daughter the right amount of food, I do not over load her plate. If she is still hungry then I will give her more. I do not force her to eat anything. I do encourage her to try new things that are on the table. If she likes it great, if not then that's okay as well. I too was brought up that way about the starving kid thing, and I have said this to her as well. The only reason why I have said it to her is because she tells me she is hungry, takes a bite or 2 then throws it away.

I do not like wasting food because for one it costs too much in the first place and 2 2 hours later she will say I am hungry.She is 8 years old, and eats every 2 -3 hours, and she can put food away. She is 4 feet 10 and a bean pole, I don't know where the food goes on her.

I do encourage talking at the table this way I know how her went at school. Sometimes we make breakfast for dinner and when her dad isn't here, we will sit and watch a movie while eating, not all the time, just maybe 1 or 2 times a month, just to break things up a bit.

1
1

I used to use this statement so often on both of my girls - trying to teach them about not taking anything for granted - a lot of people go without. When we drove down the street and saw homeless people digging in the dustbins, I would say to my girls that they were looking for food - that they had nothing and this was their only source of food for the day. Needless to say my statement bit me in the butt: They would always want to leave half their dinner after that, as they wanted to help the homeless people out and give them more food to find. Not the best idea I had in trying to teach them a lesson in life.

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23 0

Yes growing up I was told to clean your plate and about starving children in foreign countries and today I feel like I have to clear my plate out of this rule. Today I too have picky eaters and all I want for them is to try different foods. One son only likes mac and cheese , pizza and grilled cheese sandwiches and have trouble getting him to eat veggies and fruit. He does eat apples. The other son will eat veggies and fruit but all he wants really is spaghetti with no sauce and white cheese pizza. When I offer them meatballs or chicken it is so stressful and to get them to eat 4 bites takes about 45 minutes to a hour! I keep hoping that when they are older they will like fish, chicken and veggies. As far as sitting down at the table we sit down and pray and thank God for our food, there is no TV, radio or toys present and we discuss our day to each other.

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482 54

I DO NOT make my boys "clear their plates". I do however have a "3 bites" rule. They must eat @ least 3 bites of every food group the plate. I serve them on small plates, salad not dinner size. Portions are small. If they want seconds of something, everything on the plate must be finished. They are not allowed any more than two servings of any one food group. (this includes the drink) milk or water must be drank before more food is served. Dehydration is something parents forget about. I remind them that their tummies are the size of their own fist, and have them make that fist and place it over the plate. Of course, the food chewed is smaller, but they get the concept.
If they are still hungry after having seconds, I tell them to wait 20 minutes (the length of time it takes the stomach to tell the brain it is full). If they are hungry after that, they may have more vegetables or fruit. But it rarely happens, they usually forget.
Their plate is colorful with a protein, vegetable, carbohydrate, healthy fat, and or fruit. Sometimes I make "monochromatic meals" Like Green eggs with spinach" "Salmon Burgers with Sweet Potato fries" things of that nature, just for FUN.

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0 0

No, The starving kids wouldn't get the food of my child's plate anyway. I only want my kids to ate till they're satisfied and not overeat. I'm a plate clearer and think that's because of being forced to eat everything served to me as a child. I am about 20 pounds over weight and maybe my eat everything habit may contribute to that. I don't eat the kids leftover food. I throw it out give the dog some of it as a treat/

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5 5

I grew up in a very very strict household, where if you did not eat your supper you were not able to be excused from the table until everyone else had finished. This also led into if you did not eat your supper that was what you were having for breakfast the next day. Today, our children have rules but no where near like the ones I grew up with ( all around). You have to have at least 4 bites of everything, for our youngest son getting him to eat meat was torture so instead of making him eat meat, I just started making him the vegetarian protein substitues and haven't had a problem since. I think the biggest problem today is that people have forgotten what a real portion of food is. For the older children and members of our family the rule is if you put it on your plate, than you eat it.

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0 0

I was raised with very strict table rules too. Very much like yours. I'm just happy if the kids taste their food and eat what they like. My four year old son barely eats anything, but when he does he loves apples, bananas, milk, and cheese. I'm a little over weight and often wonder if it's due to being forced to clear my plate no matter what. Either way, I still 50% of the time catch myself clearing my plate. I guess it's a bad habit that was drilled into me.

14 8

I have exactly the same rules as Lynn Van Antwerp. I tell my daughter to listen to her body and if her tummy says it is full she needs to stop!

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482 54

I like that rule, but I have one kid that knows how to "listen to his body" and another with NO OFF BUTTON. He has been that way since birth," barracuda baby" is what they called the feeders who sucked the life out of you ,and had to be pried of the nipple with a finger. If only it was that easy for everyone to just listen to their bodies. The world would be a less obese place

13 0

We have guidelines but it has more to do with "what" you eat than "how much" you eat. I give all the kids (depending on their age) a plate with everything that I made for dinner. They have to try everything (just a bite) three times before it doesn't get added again. They don't have to eat ANYTHING but that means no dessert and they are done for the night. No snacks, no alternate meals. I do make exceptions for dishes that are spicy such as certain Mexican foods or spicy chili. They can make a quesadilla, leftovers, cereal or peanut butter sandwich that night instead. My daughter likes bread, pasta and mashed potatoes the most. She's 7 and always asks for extra of these things. She can only get seconds if she eats some of her meat, vegetables, etc.

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0 0

I ask my daughter to eat protein first, veggies second and carbs last. When we do offer dessert, she may only have her dessert if the protein and veggies are cleared. I do not push carbs- I actually prefer not to serve them. It has completely changed the way she snacks.

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4 95

Our "rules" are pretty basic. I won't force my kids to eat more than they want. They are always free to stop eating when they are full. But they also do not receive "treats" after dinner if they are/were too full to finish the food on their plate. I still use smaller plates for them so that I won't be tempted to give them too much (they are 9 & almost 7). It's easier to ask for seconds if they want them (and my daughter usually does). Drinks are limited to milk, water or 100% juice.

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30 12

If the child wants dessert, they need to eat a good portion of the nutritious food on their plate. If they don't, they get no dessert. If they refuse to eat what's on their plate by the end of dinner, they are excused, but get no snacks or any other food before bedtime. If they say they are hungry, I heat up what they had for supper and sit down with them to eat it. I try to make nutritious food they like and will eat.

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4 13

Yes I like to see my child clear their plate at least one portion of food so they don't come back saying " Oh Mommy I'm hungry!" MOst American don't know what Famine is or what it is truly like to be hungry! I personally know what it is like not to get the food you need let along what you want! I've lived in Countries where more than 83% of children are under nourished and can't get food, begging by the road side od large African Highways (dangerous). So yes I give my child a child size portion and expect her to eat it! So she my never know real hunger!

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6 0

We use the same rules we heard at her preschool. You must taste everything on the plate. Check with your tummy BEFORE you put something on your plate to see just how hungry you are. If you decide you don't like something -- you are expected to eat one teaspoon/fork full for each year of your age (4 yr olds eat 4 bites). My sister and I have always struggled with weight issues so as a mom I decided early my child was not going to be part of the "clean plate club". It did take a few hard lessons for my daughter to learn that choosing not to eat dinner so you could have more dessert was not an option in this house. Dinner first THEN dessert (dessert can be postponed if you're full and need time to let your food settle). Same rules apply for lunch except at lunch we add -- you must drink a small water bottle full of water (8 oz).

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1 1

I grew up in a family for whom over eating is an issue. My sister, who has never been over weight, was constantly watched for anorexia during adolescence because she ate healthy portions and exersized, something the rest of us did not. One way I try to change this culture is to never make my daughter finish her food if she is not hungry. Like any normal child, there are times when she eats a lot and time when she barely eats. She also loves sweets, especially chocolate and we do try to limit these in her diet.

So the rule in our house is, "You don't have to eat anything, but if you want dessert, you have to have 3 bites of protein and 3 bites of vegetable."

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5 9

When I was growing up we had to eat everything on our plates..EVEN the Fat! ICK I did not have children that were picky eaters but they had to eat what we had as we didn't have a lot of money. the few things they did not like they had to try every time we had them because your taste buds change as you get older.. example: my husband and I love Liver and Onions...Most kids don't, mine were no different. So the deal was they got their favorite which was Mac and Cheese and Hot Dogs if they each would at least try it.. They cooperated and now as adults they ask when they come home to visit for one of four meals and Liver and Onions is one of them! The older two have married wives that are pickier and I always make sure they have something they like as well...Even as adults we want to be accepted just how we are too!

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1 12

So I think most moms now the clean your plate rule is out. When I first started my family (now of 4) I thought I was going to be a lax parent and no rules and fun family time and all that stuff...Then my husband sat down and had dinner with us for the first time in like three weeks (he works in medical field) And he was like...what is up with our kids bad manners, eating with fingers, talking with their mouth full, grabbing across the table, drinking with their left hand, running chinese fire drills around the table...Then I realized we are having such a good time at the table I totally forgot how gross you look when you dont have good table edicit and manners. So ASAP I had to look up how to teach kids good table manners and implement it like a drill sargent!

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