• Shalyn Yamanaka MS, RD

My Child Won't Sit at the Table


Parents often are concerned that their child’s inability to sit still during mealtimes – be it he hops down from the table, runs around and comes back to eat, or she runs around and someone has to chase after her to eat.

If you are using the Division of Responsibility, table manners are not part of the principle, but that is not to say parents cannot enforce table manners. My recommendation is for parents to determine between themselves what are the expected table manners and to hold the boundaries for whatever their table manner expectations are. That being said, in order to have an enjoyable meal, it requires everyone to be seated at the table.

Here are some common reasons that your child may have some difficulties staying seated at the table:

  1. He is not hungry. This is often the most common reason, and usually related to grazing or a snack which was too close to mealtime.

  2. She is bored. Some parents expect toddlers to sit at the table for the whole mealtime, which may be an hour. This is a long time for a toddler to sit still, especially if she has finished her food. Try to excuse her to a safe area to play after she is done so the rest of the family can enjoy the rest of their meals.

  3. He didn’t get enough exercise that day and needs to move. Some children need more activity during the day and if he didn’t get enough that day, it may be difficult for him to sit for the meal.

  4. She is overtired. Often overtired children have difficulties staying focused, listening, and sitting still. If you recognize signs your child is getting tired during meals regularly, review your meal timing.

Are you concerned with your child not sitting still at the table? If so, I’d love to hear your concerns and if you think one of the above points may be the cause in your family.

#sittingstill #tablemanners #childhoodeating #childhoodfeeding #kidseating #frustrations #unacceptable

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