Getting kids to behave at holiday meals | Home & Garden
The holidays are coming up and that means big family meals. It can also mean headaches for parents if their children sling potatoes or crinkle their noses at grandma’s awful fruit cake.
Don’t Worry If They Don’t Eat: When attending holiday gatherings with lots of family and friends, it’s not unusual for kids to eat very little. The more noise, excitement and activity, the less likely it is they will eat much. Unless your child has health or growth problems don't worry. Relax and allow everyone (parents and kids) to enjoy themselves.
Tell Them What to Expect: Make sure your child knows a little about what to expect before the event/gathering, like how many people will be there and what foods will be served. It will reduce anxiety and increase the likelihood of positive behavior.
Set Expectations: On the subject of behavior, make sure that your child knows what type of behavior you expect. Be very clear (i.e., no yelling at the dinner table; kiss Grandma "hello," etc.) Be equally clear as to the consequences for misbehavior.
Plan Ahead: Be thoughtful about the event and plan ways to make it more successful for your child. For example, if the dinner will not be served until 8 p.m. and your kids are used to eating at 5:30 p.m., feed them at home before you go. If 8 p.m. is their usual bedtime and they will be cranky by the time dinner is served, consider stopping by for appetizers only and leave at 7:45 p.m.