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Ask Denene: Wiggle Worm At Dinner


How can we get our kid to sit still for a meal? Even after we get him to the table, he's whining to get up again minutes into dinner.

You mean other than superglue his Pull-Up to the chair? Trust me, I considered it on more than a few occasions, when my two girls were small and refused to sit and eat. Heck, my 7-year-old still has dinners where she spends more time getting ice, dropping her fork, passing out napkins, or going to the bathroom than finishing her chicken and string beans. 

Your child is pushing away from the table because he's got the attention span of, well, a toddler, so you're going to have to be quick about it if you want to get some food in his stomach.

With my girls, I would avoid snacks within an hour of our meal, and I wouldn't call them to dinner until the food was on the plates, the plates were on the table, and Nick and I were ready to say grace. (That way, they wouldn't patiently wait out the long setup, only to go hog wild immediately after taking the first bite.)

We had about 15 minutes, tops, before they were on the move again, so we made those minutes count: Eat. Talk. Eat. Laugh. Eat. Done. No watching TV. No playing games at the table. Just a little soft Stevie Wonder playing on the stereo and us, enjoying the meal as a family.