Diaries Magazine

Are You Still Feeding Your Preschooler?

By Parentingsmh @parentingsmh

Dinner time was a time of great power struggle in the SMH camp.  My soon to be four year old is a complete mess and I'm pretty sure it's my fault.  
Yep! I said it.  
Good thing is, I'm aware of it and I've had enough.  Here is the issue, my 3 year old, is a socializer and a dreamer.  He spends way too much time (during dinner) day dreaming and trying to talk about everything under the sun.  He lacks focus and that means a 20 to 30 minute dinner can last over an hour.  Let's face it, spending over an hour at the table reminding your kid to eat is kind of exhausting. Are You Still Feeding Your Preschooler?
Now, just to be clear, I don't expect to not have to help him through a meal at all, that is a bit unreasonable, but I do expect to NOT have to feed him.  I mean really, he can use a fork and spoon by himself, there is no reason for me to have to sit there and shovel food into his mouth just to get through a meal.
But alas, that was the norm for quite some time.  It was the only way to finish the meal and move on to other things.  I know, my fault, and I accept that, it's a patience thing, but, no more.  
I finally took a stand.  
A few weeks ago, it dawned on me I was having to spend more time with my preschooler at dinner time than I had to spend with my toddler.  Enough was enough.
That's when the time limit rule was enforced. 
What's the time limit rule?
Glad you asked. Are You Still Feeding Your Preschooler? Master M, I realized, needed an incentive to stay focused during mealtime.   To help keep him motivated, we put him on a timer during dinner.  Depending on when we sit down to dinner, we put 30 to 60 minutes on the clock.  When the time runs out, dinnertime is over and The plate gets taken away.  Now by itself, taking the plate away does nothing, but combine it with an "off to bed"  sentence and ... Voila! Instant self feeding child.
You're welcome.
I know it may sound a bit harsh, but it's really not that bad.  They're not going to allow themselves to starve, it's just their natural instinct of survival, not to mention the fact they spend most of their day snacking anyway.  Believe me, after two or three times, he got the message.
Do you have dinnertime blues? What's your secret to hassle free dinner?

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