I haven’t been quiet about the fact that my youngest child, now five and a half, has enough energy to make the energizer bunny look like a sloth. He’s constantly wiggling, fidgeting, and needing to be moving. That doesn’t work so great for big family dinners like Easter and Christmas. I’ve found a few ways to mitigate the affects of having a hyper child and wanted to share.
Let Them Hold Something In Their Lap
Let the child have a small toy they like that’s not a ball. This is an old favorite trick of many mothers with active children I know and it really does work. Don’t give them a ball, even the stress ball type, as it can cause more problems being thrown under the table. Some ideas are small cars, action figures, a favorite doll, or a Lego minifigure.
Let Them Be Comfortable
That button up shirt and tie or frilly Easter dress might be perfect for church in the morning and gorgeous for family pictures, but do they need to wear it for dinner? After the pictures and mingling are done, consider letting your kids change into something more comfortable. We don’t let them get into pajamas and slippers, but we do let them get in their jeans or playwear pants with a t-shirt they’ve chosen. It helps with easing their discomfort and can help them focus on dinner. (See Mr. Batman below.)
Pick Your Battles On The Plate
Children are more likely to be distracted and fidget during dinner when they’re not enjoying the food. It’s fine to make them eat their ham, but is it so bad if they want a mountain of mashed potatoes instead of a spread of different veggies? Kids will attentively eat something they really want, but may pick at or play with things they don’t.
Reduce Your Own Stress
I’ve been telling you guys we’ve done this for the last few years now, but I’m getting our ham from HoneyBaked Ham again this year because it’s already ready to go and super tasty. And frankly, I adore the staff at ours.
Doing it this way saves me hours of prep work and I get to take my youngest child with me to have our special lunch when we pick our ham up. Since I’ve been such an advocate for HoneyBaked Ham over the last few years, they sent me a little gift card to help with our purchase this year too. This year, we did another early dinner with friends who will be gone during Easter and we’re having another with family. For this year’s dinner with friends, we picked up a ham, turkey breast, mashed potatoes, and a coffee cake for dessert.
I followed all of the steps outlined here to help the kids stay calm and it worked like a charm. Not having all the prep work before everyone arrived also meant I was able to spend more time playing with my sons and wearing them out beforehand. I spent more time outside with them and less in the kitchen having to shoo them away which I think does wonders for making them feel important and help their moods.
HoneyBaked Ham was willing to give out some coupons for bloggers to give their readers this year, so I’m definitely passing them on to you! Here’s the coupon: $5 off of $50 or more. (Coupon details-Offer valid 3.14.15 – 4.4.15. Must present coupon at time of purchase to receive offer. May not be combined with any other offer. One coupon per person at participating retail store locations. While supplies last.)
If you have any tips on keeping kids calm for dinner,
I’d love to hear them in the comments below!