Please Advise

For a good part of the last year, our darling Princess Pigtails has been driving me/us crazy at the dinner table. We have been working with her on the typical table manner things--not playing with her food, not taking her food off her plate and placing it on the table, not tipping her chair, etc. These are typical antics of a three year old, right? Or do I have unrealistic expectations. I know that a three year old isn't going to be an expert with utensils yet. That's fine with me--well, I wish she was, but I know that will come and I can deal with that.
Here's the issue: That girl will not stay on task at the table for anything. During most meals, she plays and fusses and talks and picks at her food. She does eat eventually. But not until we've encouraged her, nagged her and sometimes, I admit, bribed her.

What I've tried so far:
  • I've re-evaluated the serving sizes I've given her but that doesn't seem to make a bit of difference.
  • What the menu is doesn't seem to make a bit of difference either.
  • We used to have a rule and will in the future that everyone needs to be done before people can be excused from the table. But currently that is unrealistic considering it takes her for most meals over an hour to eat. Sometimes an hour and a half.
  • It doesn't seem to bother her that I clean up the table and move to another room.
  • I've tried not letting her have snacks at all and that has had limited results.
So, please tell me. Is this normal? What else should I try? I'm nearly ready to pull my hair out. HELP!!


Kari said...

We ended up focusing on one thing at a time. It might sound horrifying but we let Katie eat with her fingers, spoon or whatever, just as long a she chewed with her mouth closed. Once she mastered that we moved to spoon then fork. One thing that worked well for her was to stick toothpicks in whatever could hold a toothpick (or half a pick). That helped her learn how to use a tool without having to actually get her food on the tool. Think I'd work on getting her to keep it all on the plate first.

One thing to look forward to, Gretchen has been an amazing eater, using utensils and trying absolutely anything - she'll do anything that big sister does. Happy dining! :)

Jules from "The Roost" said...

It sounds like you are doing all the right things. Just keep doing them consistantly. Really making sure she hasn't had snack or juice before meal time. Stay with it and it will improve with time.....I know that is not the answer you might want but one day it will all come together if you keep at it!

The Nebel's said...

Your one of the best moms that I know. I always love to hear advice from your mom, things have you do with Grace. I say that its just a phase that she is going thru. Karston does the samething. Most of the time she eats really good if I have told her after we eat and take a bath we will play a game before bed. Or something like that. Something that she really loves to do. Your doing great! Hang in there!