My daughter is - as far as I can tell - a normal, active almost-six-year-old kid who can focus on her art or imaginary play for long stretches, can listen and follow directions (sometimes), interact normally (when she wants to), etc. But we have one regular struggle with her: at mealtimes, she seems almost incapable of sitting calmly and focusing on her food or people at the table.
I know this isn't a big deal for the most part, but it's puzzling. She just can't seem to sit still, constantly rotating in her seat, getting up, kneeling, sliding under the table, despite regular and increasingly annoyed admonishments.She can't even seem to just keep her legs under the table and her butt on the seat.
She is not overwhelmingly motivated by food, so that might be a factor, but I've known fussy-eating three-to-four-year-olds who see far more capable of just being a part of a meal than she is. If there is ANYTHING in reach that she can play with, she is more likely playing than focusing on eating, even things she likes sometimes. We can get her to eat occasionally by engaging her in the kind of games we played when she was 2-3, but that seems like a big waste of time and energy for all of us.
Does anyone else have experiences like this, and is it normal? I don't think she exhibits ADHD-like symptoms for the most part, and even if she did I would be loathe to medicate her unless it was really severe and debilitating. Could it be physical, could she just be uncomfortable and not talking about it? Is this just normal kid energy mixed with a lack of interest in mealtime eating?
Any advice or perspectives would be helpful - thanks!
I'd try to avoid medication for this too.
I've found that involving a child in the preparation of a meal to be helpful, even if they just fetch things for the cook. They get some energy out, and they learn a process of the preparation and then the enjoyment of food. Children also get to smell and taste the food, which can result in an increased appetite (if there is not too much tasting!).
Also: Finger food with a variety of sauces can make dinner fun for some young ones.
Best of luck,
My son's 6 too and won't sit still for anything! Even with his homework, he figits. I'm on my way to getting him tested for the gifted program for next year and hopefully things will be different. It's really been a struggle because stuff has come so easily to him. I hear ya! Good luck!
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