Dinner time and kitchen clean up

Parenting is super challenging so I am always open to learning ways to make parenting a little bit easier. Following simplyonpurpose on Instagram has given me many ways to view common parenting issues as well as ways to handle those situations (if you don’t follow her on instagram you should!).

Dinner time with a toddler can be extremely challenging. Owen is at the age where he will eat most anything that is put in front of him. Liam used to be like that but now that he is 3 years old he has become more selective on what he will eat.

We often were getting into the “one more bite” battle and it wasn’t working.

What I have learned is that children are learning to self-regulate and if we tell them they need to take one more bite when they say they are full, they are not given the opportunity to learn. The same goes for being hungry, if they say they are full after not eating much it allows them to learn that they need to eat more.

Now during dinner, we as the parents make it our job to offer healthy dinner options for Liam (and Owen). He then chooses what he eats and how much of that item he eats. If he doesn’t want to eat something that is okay as he has other options he can eat.

Liam eats most of what is offered at dinner time now and it has made dinner time less stressful not having the battle and knowing that no matter what he will be eating something healthy for dinner.

I wasn’t sure it would work but it did and honestly had me thinking why didn’t I think of this sooner (again thanks simplyonpurpose)!

After everyone is done eating we turn on the kitchen clean up song (September by Earth, Wind, and Fire) and get to work.

Owen’s responsibility is to bring his milk to the fridge and to my surprise 6 out of 7 days a week he actually does it. It’s a small task but he is only 1 and it is still helpful. It gives him a “job” and makes Liam feel like both of them have responsibilities.

Liam’s responsibility is to bring his plate and milk to the kitchen. He cleans off his plate into the garbage and puts his milk in the fridge. Then his next responsibility is to spray the table and wipe it clean.

While Liam is cleaning the table, Joe and I do our best to tackle the remaining post-dinner clean up. Owen usually is following one of us around or playing but with Liam cleaning the table it eliminates sibling conflict during this time making it easier for Joe and myself to get things done.

This has made after dinner clean up the responsibility of the entire family rather than just one person.

Dinner time should be family time and these tips have made it so much more enjoyable for our family. 

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