Candle light dinner

No this is not a post about a romantic evening. This is about getting your toddlers to eat. Our latest success formula starts with candle light! Read and learn peeps, hopefully this trick can be used on all toddlers 😉

As the days were getting darker due to winter times I decided it was time to light candles more often. I also thought it was a good idea to make the boys a bit more aware of fire and especially the dangers of it, as many people we visit in winter have candles in their houses. So I put two candles on the dinner table and explained our boys about their use and dangers.

They were mesmerised. Not specifically by the pretty flickering light, but mainly by the idea that they could blow it out. Of course I did not want them to do this yet, I had just lit the candles. So I said they could blow out the candles, one each, after they finished their dinner.

This resulted in them eating quicker than I’ve ever seen. Their plates were clean before I had the first bite of my dinner. Wow! Of course I kept my promise and they could blow out a candle each. It was not easy, as they had hardly ever done this, but they managed. Next day the same happened. And the next. And the next.

It  has been weeks now and every day they finish their dinner in order to be allowed to blow out a candle. Nothing makes them happier, they even ask for candles at lunch now haha.They have gotten really good at it too and it only takes a few blows before they succeed. So when they will turn three later this year, they can actually blow out the candles on their birthday cake, another bonus. And they behave very carefully around the candles, are very aware of its danger.

So all in all this was a great win. But the biggest bonus of course is a relatively hassle free dinner with two toddlers.

Sarcasm does not work

Dinner at home:

When one of the boys spills some yoghurt on the table, I tell him to sweep it up with his finger and lick it off. Enthusiastically he follows my advice, but when he see his ‘dirty’ finger, he has a change of heart.
‘Mommy lick it, clean it mommy please,’ he suddenly pleads with tears in his eyes.

Going out for dinner:

Surprise, surprise… the boys spill some food. I say nothing. Now they decide they do want to get the food of the table. First they use a spoon, then their finger, and apparently it’s great, so they spill some more food to sweep and lick.  Sigh. (Do they not understand that a table at home is completely different from any other table?)
So this frustrated mommy exclaims: ‘Yikes!  Why don’t you lick the whole table while you’re at it!’
And so they do.

© Carien Touwen 2017