Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I am the most brilliant parent EVER

Okay, so my daughter has atrocious table manners. Won't eat, throws tantrums, leaves the table before the rest of us are done, whines, wants to sit on my lap for the whole meal, interrupts any conversation that doesn't involve her but won't participate in any conversation in which we try to include her, etc. It gets REALLY bad when she goes on a food strike and will only eat like one meal a day, such as, um, the last two weeks. We've tried distraction, rewards for good behavior, coloring books, ignoring her, time-outs, just about everything short of beating the living crap out of her, to no avail. It had gotten to the point where I was actively dreading trying to eat dinner as a family, she was being so unpleasant.

Then in the library yesterday I had a total brainwave - the easiest solution to this problem EVER.

Kid-appropriate audio books.

I mentioned to her today at lunch that we were going to listen to stories at dinnertime, and at dinner I racked up the CD and told her she only got to listen if she stayed in her chair and behaved herself.

For fifteen blissful minutes, all we heard was a story about a kid detective finding a friend's missing drawing. She sat still, she listened intently, she didn't fidget, she didn't interrupt, she didn't throw things, she didn't whine, she didn't ask to sit on my lap ... nothing.

The only time she spoke was to ask for more of her dinner after she had cleaned her plate. True, we had resorted to serving her miniature waffles with (all fruit) jam sandwiched between them, but still - she NEVER asks for seconds of anything other than candy or juice.


If you're going to try this for your family, try to find a book that's got several short stories on one CD, so you can tailor the playlist to fit how long you want dinner to last. Otherwise, you'll get sucked into the whole "just one more chapter" thing, and that NEVER ends well. This might also work for older kids who complain about having to sit through the whole meal instead of calling their friends or whatever - pick a longer book where they'd miss important stuff if they leave early or miss dinner one night.

Also - your mileage may vary, since my child is obsessed with books and stories and regularly forces me to tell her the same "fairy getting lost" story EVERY FREAKING TIME WE DRIVE FOR MORE THAN FIVE MINUTES.

No comments: