Life with kids is ALWAYS an adventure. And I have 3 who are only 3 years apart. (yes, we're crazy.) This is my place to capture the craziness in all it's glory, because childhood only happens once. (thank goodness!)

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Meantime Mania

I HATE mealtime at our house. I mean HATE. I don't know how to convey in the mere written form how much I despise eating time. I detest it with every cell in my body. It brings the whine out in the kids and turns me into the ugly yelling mommy. I HATE mealtime!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My kids are, right now as I type, sitting at the lunch table. Yes, it's after 2:00. No we didn't eat lunch exceptionally late. They have literally been sitting there for an hour and a half. Why you ask? Because, in an effort to bring some sanity to the table I decided that I was going to put the responisibly of eating all their food back on my children. Instead of the begging, pleading, yelling, threatening, crying that usually goes on at mealtime I decided that I would stop trying to make them eat. Instead I explained to them food costs money. That daddy works very hard for the money we use to buy the food. And that when they don't eat I throw food away, which is like throwing money away, and daddy works too hard to simply throw away money. So, whenever they don't finish something on their plate they are required to get money out of their piggy bank and give to me, to pay me for the food that I am now throwing away.

We have a family goal and we are currently saving for a trip to Disneyland. The kids get paid for odd jobs around the house or for toys they don't want anymore (a great way to dejunk I tell you!) and every precious penny goes into their banks so that we can go to Disneyland.

Realizing that if they are forced to pay me it will take us that much longer to get to Disneyland they don't want to give in. But, they don't want to eat, either. So instead they now sit at the table for hours, merely staring at the food on their plate. And teasing each other. And fighting with each other. And whining about their food.

It drives me INSANE!!!!!

Somebody please PLEASE tell me how you manage mealtime at your house. Seriously my next step is going to be a forced month long fast. Maybe if they get hungry enough they will eat anything I put in front of their face.


Kristin said...

I know how you feel! I hate meal time too. I wish you the best in finding the solution, I still haven't found one. Maybe try setting a timer and if they haven't completed their food by the time's up, then they owe you the money for the wasted food. I do like the idea of you making them pay you for what they waste. Good idea!

orangemily said...

I hate to throw food away, but the meal time battle is one I choose not to fight. I enjoy food too much to make my meal times any more unpleasant than they already are.
I agree with Kristin though, there needs to be a deadline (timer) so they don't just sit there and make you crazy all day or turn it in to a standoff.

Dana said...

Try MUCH smaller portions. If they are hungry they can have seconds. If not, they don't waste anything. My kids ate off saucers when they first moved up to "real" plates. Even kid plastic plates are big. Only put a few of each item on the plate.

Also, try giving them a choice. I had a list on the cabinet that listed lunchtime options. Connor could pick the main course (If it was in stock!), PB, Spaghetti, Hot Dogs were on the list as well as Chicken salad, soup etc. He got to pick that and a healthy option (fruits and veggies) and on Fridays he had a treat added too. The kicker? He had to pick the night BEFORE. Otherwise we were eating whatever Mommy picked! Usually leftovers!

So maybe they get to earn points by eating without complaint. After 5 meals that they eat all the veggies with no fussing...they earn the right to help mom plan meals the next week. Or they get ONE night with an opt out option! A week of no whining = one dinner with carrots instead of brocolli...

I also just stopped serving ONE item that each person hated. No lima beans, string cheese or plums. They each get ONE item that I will never ever ask them to eat! But only one!

Try coming up with new fun ways to serve food....glue up most of the holes in a salt shaker and let them season it themselves. Have a finger food night and eat edamame...Sometimes my kids will eat stuff if it has a fun name, like "pop peas" instead of edamame.
Good luck!

Dana said...

oh yeah. NO WHINING! If my kids whine, they don't appreciate the food and they are immediately removed from the table.

They can be critical if they use cooking terms...too spicy, too hot, too mushy, too salty. But they still have to NOT WHINE!


HeidiPie said...

My thing right now is not trying to give out snacks during the rest of the day so they are actually hungry at meal times. And naming it funny stuff 'sometimes' helps. And if they can have a choice it might help. If they don't choose and then change their mind 5 times (like Luke) - I can't let him look in the fridge or he thinks he needs everything...milk and juice and wate and applesauce and yogurt with blueberries... Good Luck. If you have any ideas of how to keep them in their chair..I'm all for ideas on that one.