"A child without rules is like a fish out of water. "

"EAT!"

Question

Our kids 6.5 yrs and 4.5 yrs used to watch the iPad with meals; we broke that habit by letting them color or read books, but we have to say ‘eat’ constantly for them to eat. The youngest stands does handstands in her chair, they hoop and holler, and we literally have to say eat about 50 times per meal. I’ve set timers, given strikes, issued threats, etc.

It’s important to mention that we cook them a separate meal because we don’t eat with them. They eat at 5pm and they’re hungry at that time. We cook them chicken nuggets, meatballs, fishsticks, mac & cheese, sweet potatoes, etc so we’ve allowed the kid-food pickiness. We like to have our meals after they go to bed.

So, we have made a few mistakes here: reminding them to eat over and over, allowing misbehavior during the meal, letting them play during meals, not eating with them, making them kid foods only.

I’d like to keep them eating without us all eating together because my husband usually has to grade when I stop working at 5pm.

Most of their strikes come from mealtimes and it’s just getting more obnoxious by the day. I feel like we need to have a foundational shift in our approach to mealtime. Any advice would be appreciated!

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