Here’s the scene: Dinner time. The evening in our house runs on a tight schedule because frankly, Chase is a crabby patty. He goes to bed at 7:00 pm…and when I say he goes to bed at 7:00 pm, I mean he is bathed, changed, fed and IN bed at 7:00 pm. Therefore, come 6:00 pm, he starts to get very fussy.
In the best-case scenario, Cooper and I are eating dinner between 5 and 5:30 pm (Chase eats around 4:00 pm) so that we have time to eat and then get cleaned up BEFORE Chase starts to get too crabby. If I miss the mark on this then I’ve got trouble.
The problem: Cooper. Yes, Cooper is killing me with his slow eating. Last night, I was a little late getting dinner on the table. (Totally my fault.) It was 5:55 pm when we sat down. At 7:19 pm I was ready to send the child to China and he was still eating (and crying) and I was attempting to put Chase to bed because the evening was so off kilter. Cooper didn’t want me to take his food away because “he was hungry”, but he wouldn’t be quiet and eat. (There is lots more to this story but that is the short version of what happened.) This is getting to be a regular evening issue here in the Nevil household and I’m pretty perturbed by it.
Additionally, the problem is that he won’t just shut up and eat! I love him and he’s a fun kiddo, but really, REALLY?
Therefore, my question to you all is this: What is a reasonable amount of time that I should/you give to your children to finish their dinner?
I am a firm believer in kids sitting at the dinner table with their parents. I don’t do the getting up and walking around thing either. Dinner is dinner and you don’t get your bootie out of that chair until I say. But I also understand that I eat way faster than a 4-year-old, so I try to add a little extra time in there for him to finish his food. I enjoy talking with him because that is another fun part of dinner; conversation around the table is what families do!
I feel like 30 minutes is plenty of time to eat. I don’t want him to rush, but I also don’t want him to eat slower than mollasses pouring out of a glass bottle on a cold day. You know?
If he can’t do it in that alloted time, I feel like it is perfectly ok to take his plate away from him and tell him that dinner time is over and so sorry you didn’t finish. Especially if he is clearly not making an effort to finish his dinner in a timely manner.
So that’s my issue. How does dinner time conversation and allotted time to eat work in your house at night?