Ants in their pants - FamilyEducation

Ants in their pants

February 25,2010
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

No, this post isn’t new rendition recipe variation on Ant on a Log, something I never really got into, although I know plenty of families for which this snack/lunch ideas is a mainstay. No, I am talking about Ants in Your Pants, as in, really antsy. Won’t sit still. Not settled down. Am I the only one whose children have a difficult time sitting, fully, in their chairs, for a full meal? I can recall as a child, being stuck between the wall and my mom in our breakfast eating nook each dinnertime. Oh, how I longed for the freedom to get up from the table without having to negotiate my mom’s getting up from the table. In fact, I seem to recall that I even attempted a table-break by crawling under our kitchen table. I am sure my mom and dad loved that. So perhaps it is a classic case of “what goes around, comes around,” but R and G are having a hard time staying put during meal time. We don’t have a breakfast nook (how wonderful an invention for parents who need to keep this little ones in their seats during meals), so without discipline, my boys don’t stay put. I wrote several weeks ago about G getting up many, many times each day at lunch, which he seems to have, thankfully, outgrown. But while I am firm believer in “this too shall pass,” the general yearning to get up from the table during meal time, before SPH and I are done, doesn’t seem to be passing anytime soon. And if my first-hand experience as a kid is any indication, it will get even more intense during the teenage years. So. What’s a mom to do? I have heard of some parents recommending that if you child gets up from the table, you should take their food away. Great idea, but not one that I believe would work for our family for two reasons: first, they generally get antsy after they eat, and while they are waiting for everyone to be finished. Second, G is not a big eater to begin with, so we need to get as much food in him as possible. To G, taking away his plate probably wouldn’t be much of an incentive. One recommendation we are going to try and giving an incentive for sitting for the entire meal. Get up? No treat or dessert. I’ll let you know how it works out…and whether the boys are willing to stay put for a little sweet finish to their meal. SPC