Won't sit still for meals

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2013
Won't sit still for meals
Tue, 07-30-2013 - 7:29pm

Am I asking too much of my 3 year old nephew to sit with us for meals? I don't expect him to stay perfectly still in his chair, hands folded nicely or anything - I just would like him to stay IN his chair, period. He is constantly getting up to wander away, then will come back when we call him, eat a few bites, then wanders away again. But maybe he's too little for this kind of attention span? Do your 2-3 year olds sit with the rest of the family for the duration of a meal?


Community Leader
Registered: 07-26-1999
Wed, 07-31-2013 - 2:32pm

I think it depends on the child.  My 6 year old did that much more often than my 4 year old did, and yes, her attention span was on the short side.  I think its a matter of working with them on the skill.  That's why we rarely go out to eat at a sit down place, because they don't have as big of appetites and they want to constantly get up from the table.  No real suggestions, sorry.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-12-2003
Thu, 08-08-2013 - 6:57am

My 10 year old is ADHD and he NEVER sits still and his 4 yr old brother likes to do EVERYTHING big brother does so needless to say they never sit for awhole meal. Now we eat at different times because of schedules so kids are fed while I am still cooking for me and DH. DH and I joke both my kids are real skinny but especially my oldest he can eat and eat and he is rail thin so someday we are going to try his method. take a it walk away from table go do whatever and come back. Either we will burn off some calories or be too tired to keep eating.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-12-2013
Fri, 09-06-2013 - 6:24am

It depends on what the child is used to. You say he's your nephew so I am assuming he visits you sometimes. If that is the case then it depends what he does at home during mealtimes. Yes, kids can't be expected to sit for too long at the dining table. Are you talking to others while at the table? Maybe give him attention. Try doing that. But we can't expect a 3 yo to sit IN his chair like we adults do.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-2008
Mon, 11-04-2013 - 9:49pm

DS (3.5 yrs) will sit through dinner at home but generally gets done well before us. He then askes to be excused. sometimes he comes back and eats more but we just don't make a big deal about it as long as he asked politely to be excused before he left. 

Funny because that particular nicety was not something I even knew about until I was in middle school.

Good luck.