how to get your kids to sit still at mealtimes.


Okay, so I’m not sure about you, but mealtimes with children can be ROUGH. Can I get an amen? Thought so. Doling out PB and Js like a BOSS can be tough when you are saying things like:

“Y’all sit down. Like, seriously. Like, for real. Like, can you not just sit? Like, on your bottom. Yes, with your bottom in the chair. No, not your bottom in the AIR, your bottom in a chair”.


You get the idea.

So, I found a way, a small secret that I wish I had thought of years ago, when I had two in highchairs and they were figuring out how to climb OUT of said highchairs, and a three year old that put kernels of corn up her nose. (Yes, all that is true. No lies here.)

Here it is: READ TO THEM.

That’s it. I read books to the kids during mealtimes.

Here is how it works for us: at breakfast, I usually read their Bible lesson for the day, and after breakfast, they have the opportunity to recite memory verses and sometimes get a candy treat (yes, I give my kids candy before noon. ) It is a way to have a portion of homeschool done in conjunction with mealtime. At lunch, we usually read a book from the library or an old favorite.

(When do I eat, you ask? Usually right before their lunch time, or right after, during their “quiet rest” time. Sometimes I just like to enjoy my lunch and sweet tea in solitude while (you guessed it!) reading a book or one of my fave blogs. )

I think this idea works for two reasons:

1.) It keeps their attention, both in a visual and auditory sense, which deters them from finding something else to do. They are enjoying the story and pictures and suddenly? THOSE LEFTOVERS FROM LAST NIGHT’S CHICKEN POT PIE NEVER TASTED BETTER.

2.) It keeps MY voice at a calmer, more enjoyable level. Most people don’t whisper-yell a Dr Seuss book, right? Or grit their teeth through a copy of Madeline? Didn’t think so. Mom is calm, kids are calm, the whole experience is just more pleasant.

This also translates to long lines at the grocery store, doctor’s office waiting rooms, and I have even read to them at restaurants while they were eating, or at the park. And now that Eden is loving to read just a tad more, she reads to us sometimes as well!

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What tips do you have for creating a more peaceful mealtime experience? Share and let’s chat! Oh, and click the links below for some of our current mealtime “faves”:
NIrV Read with Me Bible

My No No No Day

The Story of Ferdinand

Shoe Baby

Ladybug Girl and Bumblebee Boy


14 thoughts on “how to get your kids to sit still at mealtimes.

  1. Love this idea! My kids love to be read to, it is always the most peaceful time in our house. But I wonder, if you are reading at the table, when do YOU eat??

    1. This is SUCH a good question that I added my response to the blog post! I usually eat right before their lunch time or right after during their “quiet rest” time. We usually do not read at supper when my husband is home, so we talk and promote discussion during that time, and I eat my meal at the same time 🙂 Thanks for asking!

  2. Oh. Mah. Word. I could just hug you! I’ve been banging my head against the wall on this one and now I can’t believe the answer is that simple. We’re doing this for lunch today. Bam!

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