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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Toddler Tricks 78 - Please, Please Eat

Problem: I don't know about some of you, but mealtimes in this house have gone from lovely, relaxing breaks in the day to full-on abject misery that can last for hours. In fact, sometimes it feels as if we are eating all day, due to stubbornness, both on the girls' part and, stupidly, on mine. Food is a fight you cannot win, but that didn't keep me from trying. I dreaded all meals. So did they. And they still barely ate for all my begging, cajoling, bribing, threatening. What could I do?

Solution: Use a timer. This comes from my good friend and fellow twin mother, Janel, and it's been backed up by several mother friends much more clever than me. My husband laughed at me when I brought the ladybug timer home. It will never work, he thought. I wasn't so sure, myself. I mean, time still passes, what's the difference if it's ticking or not?

All I can say is that it does matter. This has worked like a charm. The girls enjoy racing down the clock, and I can relax, knowing that mealtime isn't going to take more than the 20 minutes I set the timer for. It's a game. If they finish their (small) meal before the timer rings, they win! If it dings while they're sitting there, they get a cute little adrenaline rush at the surprising sound, then dissolve into giggles, and I pack up the remaining food.

Most of it, gets eaten in the last four minutes. I tell them, counting down, and the atmosphere intensifies until we're down to thirty seconds, oh my goodness! Can you manage one last bite? Quick! And they do.

It takes me off of the opposing team and makes me part of theirs. It's us against the timer.

It's brilliant, on all fronts.


  1. Brilliant-i love it. May I steal a bit of it to use when I babysit a particular recalcitrant eight year old...



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