I can't get my 3yr old daughter to stay at the table during a meal. Anyone have any tips?


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Gabrielle - posted on 01/09/2009




We use Jessica's trick when we go out to dinner - we bring placemats my 29-month-old can color on, we let her nibble on bread, we order her meal early so she has something to eat, then let her eat off ours when it comes, etc. At home, she is required to stay in her high chair until we're done, so we try to eat pretty quickly (to be reasonable), and keep her involved so she doesn't get bored.

Jessica - posted on 01/08/2009




Try dinner earlier.  Most kids get more hyper when they are starting to get tired and at that age they have a very different sleep need than an adult.  We've started eating as a family between 4:30 -5 because even though my son is only a little over a year and strapped down he just isn't interested in eating or is too cranky once we get past that time. 

Another thing you can try is giving small snacks more often , then you know your child is eating enough and when they can't handle the table anymore you can let them go without feeling like you're starving them. 

Or, if it's the manners that really matter try letting them have an activity at the table to keep them there.  They can eat and play a little as long as they stay in their chair, then they learn the importance of sitting down as a family.  If it's a stressful time for everyone, then it will not become a nice family habit as it should be.  The amount of allowed activities can slowly decrease as they get older and are able to handle a longer attention span.

Jennifer - posted on 01/08/2009




I have the same problem with my 4 year old. We take her plate and she dosn't care. We have tried putting her on a bar stool to keep her at the table and she acts out so badly that it drives me crazy. But we have a rule that no one leaves the table until everyone is done. It makes dinner time awful. I need help like you!

Candi - posted on 01/05/2009




Thanks for the advice! I have tried this before, but didn't really follow through. I will stick to my guns! Thanks again!

Abril - posted on 01/03/2009




I'm having the same problem! Ava just runs out of her seat and goes to play. As soon as I try to bring her back to the table she screams! It's amazing that she gains any weight considering the little amount of food she actually eats!

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When our daughter (2.5yr) wants to get up from table we let her... but then we say ok... then you must be done with dinner and take her plate away. This stops her immediately (she almost always finishes her meals, she loves her food:) but you have to be willing to follow through. If you take it away you can't give in an hour later when she says she's hungry. You have to remind her that she choose to be done with the meal when she left the table. Don't know if it will work for you or not? May be worth a try?

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