Parenting Problems/Tips

Pick Your Battles

Spread the love!
Share on Facebook7Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon1Print this pageEmail this to someone

Toddlers. Adorable, yes. But frustrating, also a big fat YES!!!

For me, the baby stage was a bit challenging with breastfeeding and figuring out how to get L on a good sleep schedule. After we hit the one year mark, life was smooth sailing. Walking, talking, and eating grown-up foods made for a happy, fun child.

But in the past few months before L is turning two, this toddler has turned into a terror.

The walking is now running. Usually away from me, into the street, or onto something she shouldn’t be climbing (like “Please do not touch” exhibits at the Philadelphia Museum of Art).

And the adorable babbling of a one-year-old is now “No, Mommy. No inside. I need outside. Come on, Mommy. Mommy, come on. Mommy. Mommy! MOMMY!”

But what frustrates me the MOST are mealtimes. It has become so difficult to get L to sit at the table for more than a few minutes. She will take a bite or two and then go run around. Sometimes she will come back for more food, but sometimes she won’t. (We no longer strap her in a booster seat, so she just sits in a regular, restraint-free chair.)

To get her to sit still long enough to get a good meal in her tummy, we started the bad habit of letting her watch a TV show on the tablet while eating. This trick totally worked, and she will (most of the time) remain at the table to finish her food.

But now, I’m worried about the TV-watching. So I have to battle with myself and think which do I want more- a child who eats her dinner or a child who needs to be entertained in order to sit at the table with us?

My husband and I are on opposite sides of this debate. He is not worried in the least about L’s need to watch Caillou during dinner. I, on the other hand, have gotten so fed up with the Caillou requests that I swear I’m getting rid of the tablet for good and I ask my hubby to hide it.

When researching my dilemma, I found a very helpful article called “Getting Toddlers to Sit at the Table for Dinner” by Dr. Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist and a mom. The basic gist of Markham’s advice is that few children of my daughter’s age are developmentally ready to sit still for a family dinner. She also recommends allowing toddlers to graze, because their stomachs fill up quickly, yet they need a constant supply of energy throughout the day.

Regarding TV-watching during dinner (as I suspected), Markham says it’s a no-no. It encourages bad eating habits, like overeating and not paying attention to the food you put in your mouth. An alternative is to read to your child while he is eating.

What this expert advice says to me is “Pick your battles.” While I may want to have a nice family meal where we all eat our food together, that just isn’t in the cards right now. And that’s okay. I’d rather establish a no TV during mealtimes rule, and wait until L is developmentally ready to join us at the table for a longer period of time.

What battles are waged in your household that you find yourself having to choose the lesser of two evils?

Spread the love!
Share on Facebook7Pin on Pinterest0Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Share on StumbleUpon1Print this pageEmail this to someone
Previous Story
Next Story

You Might Also Like

  • Becky
    May 24, 2013 at 7:04 AM

    I’m going to take it as a blessing that ours sits still for meals! Best of luck with this. We haven’t had any big time battles yet, but I would think they may be coming. 🙂

  • Sarah Hughes
    May 24, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    Derek can sit longer then Hayley but the moment he is done…So is she!! Our pediatrician told us a while ago when Derek was a toddler that as long as they ate one big meal a day they were ok. Of course she meant grazing throughout the rest of the day but I think you will be ok. Meals are a battle here too but it’s one we try not to fight too hard

  • Krista
    May 24, 2013 at 9:19 AM

    Corbin used to watch TV on the iPad or iPhone during dinner, too! I guess he just grew out of it 🙂

  • Michelle
    May 24, 2013 at 11:56 AM

    We have always our daughter to graze at home, we eat out (too often) so she is used to having to be at the table. We do not require her to finish her plate. We’ve been lucky that she’s a good adventurous eater. Our battle begins at BEDTIME!!! It can sometimes take 2+ hours many nights ends in tears. I just keep thinking it won’t last forever. We have good spells and then some weeks are BAD! We only have one TV in the house in the living room, and the tablet is off during meal times. We do struggle with TV off times as our daughter LOVES to WATCH TV. It makes me feel like a bad mom sometimes because if I want to clean the house I’ll let her watch for a few hours. But I as well try to pick my battles.

  • Connect!