Expectations/Rules

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zoe08's picture
Joined: 09/09/08
Posts: 665
Expectations/Rules

What are your basic house expectations/rules for your children at what ages? Especially those of you with more than 1 pretty close in age.

I take care of my nephew during the school year and anytime during the summer my sister has something or teaches summer school. I have him this week, and then I get June off and will have him again in July, then again when school starts in the fall.

He is 3.5 and pretty much exactly 18 months older than Mason.

Would you have different expectations for each since obviously the older one can and knows better in many cases?

My nephew is constantly copying Mason. Mason is learning to talk, and is just now starting to say some sentences but usually Mason tells me in one word what he wants saying "outside" "water" etc. But Trey has been able to ask "Can we go outside, please?" etc for a long time now. But he will sit there and say "outside, outside, outside, outside" in a babyish voice. I have told him over and over that he will not get what he wants by acting like that.

I am sure he is trying to get attention, but I usually ignore him until he asks me properly so that he isn't getting attention for acting like that. But yet he still keeps doing it.

Also what are your expectations/rules for dinner time? Are your little ones required to sit at the table even if they refuse to eat? Or if they don't want to eat do you just let them down? Do you let them come back and forth to the table?

kjames106's picture
Joined: 09/16/06
Posts: 678

Luke does this too. He will be 4 in august. I always tell him to talk like a big boy. I think you are doing the right thing by ignoring him.

Our kids have to stay at the dinner table even if they don't eat. Dinner time is family time and there rarely are exceptions to that for us.

RebeccaA'07's picture
Joined: 11/19/07
Posts: 1628

I would encourage your nephew to speak like a "big boy" would, which will also impact Mason eventually into speaking more clearly and in better sentencing. Win-Win!

As for dinner time, we try to eat together but honestly there are times where Kaylin just isn't into dinner and I would rather let her go play then deal with the crying/screaming while Wes/I are trying to eat dinner and talk about our days. When she is older and more capable of sitting still for a longer period, I will be more apt to making her stay at the table until we are all finished.

boilermaker's picture
Joined: 08/21/02
Posts: 1984

Our basic rules are to be respectful and be kind-- then we fill in with other expectations.

We do require that our kids speak in full sentences-- Miles just turned 4 and has always been very very vocal-- but we do require that they ask for things in full sentences with a please and thank you. If they ask for something w/out a please, then they don't get it. Trey and I will both just stare at them until they find the right words. I think you are doing the right thing w. your Trey. We also script them from an early age (like with Lexi, she'll say "Milk!" and I'll repeat, "Oh, you would like to have some milk please." and then she'll say "Milk, please." Which is close enough-- but I try to give them the words or phrases that I'm looking for. I want polite kids!

As for dinner, yes we do require that each of our children sit at the table and eat with us. Often, Lexi is antsy and wants to sit with me (and nurse) bc we eat right when I get home from work everyday-- so she is anxious to see me. But the kids are expected to sit with us at the dining room table, they must have a serving of each thing we have prepared and they must take as many bites as they are old. We don't really enforce this for Lexi, but we do for the others. I think we start "making" them take those bites when they are 3ish (and by "making" them, we mean that they must take those bites before they can eat anything else, not that we forcefully feed them that....so nothing different until you eat your bites-- no cheese sticks, yogurt, dessert, etc after dinner if you didn't eat your bites....) They must sit and wait for us to say grace as a family before ou meal and then they must ask to be excused after they are finished eating.....or if they need to leave the table for some reason. I know we are kind of strict, but with so many young kids it is easy to loose control, so we have high expectations and they meet them with ease. It makes it much easier to take them out or to a friends' house bc they are "good" at mealtimes.... Oh and if they choose not to eat at all, we take the food on their plates and put it in the fridge and if they are hungry before bed or the next mealtime, that is the food they can eat until they eat their bites (which almost never happens bc they just each eat their bites at each meal and as a result our kids will eat most anything without complaint. Yay.)

Joined: 09/05/08
Posts: 392

With Sierra the rules/expectations regarding things like meals are pretty much set. No eating on the couch. She has to sit at the table until we are done, if she balks at eating something, she has to eat however many bites I tell her to.

With Cooper, however, I am way more loosey-goosey. I know, I know. But he refuses to sit in a high chair now, or a booster(basically doesn't want to be strapped in) so he sits in a big chair. This enables him to get up and down though. He is usually pretty good, but some nights he just will not sit and eat. It is worse when we have ball and we are eating at 5:00, because normally we don't eat until after 6. I think his restlessness is more due to him not really being hungry at 5. I allow him to come back and forth.

Sometimes he eats his breakfast while sitting on the kitchen floor. I'm not interested in fighting with him, or him throwing dishes across the room, so I will deal with changing that habit later. At this point, I pick my battles, and I say if he's eating, I'm satisfied. Of course I don't want my kid sitting on the floor eating like a dog when he's 4, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

When Sierra was this age, I didn't even have a table, we lived in a condo, the only table we had was her little plastic Little Tykes table and chairs. So sometimes we would sit at that, and sometimes we'd sit on the floor. The eating bar on the counter wasn't normally clean enough(bad mommy!) plus I didn't really trust her sitting on the stools.

I will add, though, that if what he's eating is messy, drippy, etc. like watermelon, or any other kind of fruit that drips juice, or applesauce stuff, he HAS to sit at the table. Like today he pitched a fit because we had Chef Boyardee raviolis, and I wanted him at the table. Eventually he actually did sit in the high chair(which is only still there for my niece to use when she's over), but he did eat nearly all his lunch.

As far as your nephew's speech, I haven't had to deal with this, but I would agree with everyone that said expect him to talk like a big boy. Maybe take him aside and tell him that Mason really looks up to him, and you would like for him to set a good example, and speaking like a big boy is a good start. Choose a time when you haven't been on him to speak well, and then it's not seen as a "punishment" talk.

fudd8963's picture
Joined: 12/27/07
Posts: 1630

It sounds like you are doing the right thing with trying to make your nephew talk like a "big boy". I have no advice on that.

As far as meal time at our house, we are pretty much like Audra. I like the "bites as old as you are"! I may have to start that when they get a little older. If the girls don't want to eat, we tell them that they have to stay in there highchairs until we are all done. And every time they will get over there fuss and eat more. But then the girls LOVE to eat! They start before us and finish after us! We put them in their chairs and let them start while we get our plates ready, and then give them fruit when we all finish eating, and they don't like to miss out on fruit! So they will eat at least a little bit of everything on there plate so they get the fruit. The only time I don't really try to get them to eat more is if it's something new, as long as they tried it I am happy. They may not like it. But I will keep giving it to them every time we have it, and they usually end up liking it. I really can't think of anything they won't eat!

AK2663's picture
Joined: 09/03/08
Posts: 710

I think you are doing well with the encouraging your nephew to talk Smile

In terms of the table, G is expected to eat with us, although there are times here and there where she is just over tired or something and we will let her get down and walk around the table or play in her chair (she doesn't sit in the highchair anymore and the booster is rare!). We kinda go with the flow, but for the most part she eats with us until we are done.

I like the bites as you are old rule!

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