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Tricks to Get Kids Sitting Still at the Dining Table

Call them chirpy, happy-go-lucky or just plain old energetic. Getting your kids to sit straight at the dining table is no less than a Herculean task!

They will fidget, slink off their seats or just play with their food like it is made of play-dough. Obviously making a mess that you will have to clean later. So you can forget about spending a nice family lunch with no trouble. Right?


As adorably naughty as your little one might be, they can be made to sit still while eating. And yes, that does mean that they will likely finish everything that is on their plates too without turning the said contents into toys.

Sounds too good to be true, right?

You might as well start believing it! Here are four neat tricks that will eliminate your complaint of ‘baby won’t sit still to eat’ once and for all!

  1. Make your kid a part of the food prep ritual
  2. This works as a way to get your kids excited about what they eat, while solving the problem of a baby who won’t sit still to eat. It is a two birds with one stone sort of a trick. Pretty neat right? Now check it out.

    Kids love having a job to do. Being entrusted with a task really makes them happy as it satisfies their need to be active and involved. To get your active kid to sit steady during mealtime, involve them in the steps that come before. Which is the meal prep time.

    By giving your kids easy jobs such as setting their own spot at the table, tearing up the lettuce or bringing sauces and chutneys for serving can help them feel invested in the whole ritual of eating. Especially considering they put their own time and effort into making it happen.

    You can start by keeping their little cups and plates in an easy to access spot in the kitchen and call them once dinner is ready to set the table for themselves. You can even let them set the table for the rest of the members of your family. Prepping for meals will certainly get your kids more excited about participating in them, while resolving toddler mealtime tantrums.

  3. Ensure your child’s seat is comfortable
  4. If your child is in the regular habit of acting fidgety while eating, there are high chances that their seat at the dining table is not comfortable enough for them.

    Shifting in their seat or constantly trying to adjust their position is a sign of discomfort. Sure your kids may have outgrown booster seats by now and can sit at the ‘adult’ chairs. But if they are not adjusting well to it, there is a problem that needs addressing.

    Sitting with their ankles, knees and hips at a 90-degree angle can offer your child the right kind of support they need, thus making it easier for them to sit still at the dining table and eat comfortably. When their feet touch solid ground, it naturally adds to their comfort.

    Really, this one of the easiest answers to how to improve your children’s eating habits! Try it and your child will sit through a whole meal comfortably, and finish it too.

  5. Make mealtime engaging with fun activities
  6. Kids who are waiting for food to come to the table, or are waiting for you to finish so they can get up from the table can get very antsy. The result? Toddler mealtime tantrums!

    However, this can be a cinch to fix simply if you make mealtime fun!

    How to do that?

    Simple! Get colouring placemats your child can use to pass by idle time. These are easily available online and can prove to be a great seasonal activity, say during the festive season of the year. 

    You can even get placemats that feature your child’s favourite cartoon character or superhero so kids can feel more excited about joining the table and staying there during lunch hours everyday!

    If these do not work, cover your dining table with butcher paper, give your kids a set of crayons and just let their imaginations roll. That ought to fix mealtime tantrums and food refusals.

  7. Indulge in a fun dining table activity as a family
  8. Lastly, mealtime tantrums and food refusals to take a backseat, plan a dinner-time activity that all of you can indulge in and enjoy as a family.

    What makes kids feel really bored at the dinner table is the lacklustre conversation. Topics of conversation quickly run out after individual members share about their day and from then onwards silence prevails at the table, making kids seek a fast escape.

    However, you can beat the boredom and strengthen the connection you share as a family by carrying out a fun dinner-time activity. This could be something simple like Mad Libs for kids where all of you can just share a hearty laugh by reading out your respective answers!

    You can even entertain your kids with facts, start a daily gratitude exercise, use the time for ‘would you rather’ games or simply entertain any questions your kids may have at the dinner table to keep the conversation going. After all, preschool kids will not really have much to say otherwise. So this can be a great exercise to build a stronger family bond.

    Getting your kids to participate in and appreciate mealtime patiently can definitely bring you closer as a family. We hope the above tips help you! At EuroKids, we try our best to instil the values of mealtime togetherness by encouraging kids to share their food and eat with their friends. We also encourage practices such as school gardening so kids can get excited about what they eat. To know more, be sure to visit your nearest EuroKids centre.

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