Mealtime Mayhem Episode #1 - the washcloth
You’ve had a long day, you’re happy to be home, see your family and start getting dinner on the table. After slaving away at work (and then over the stove) it’s finally time to eat. Everyone is tired and hungry, but you've made it. Then you make the call, “Wash up! It’s time for dinner.” This is basically your cue to start wrangling toddlers! You know they're hungry but why won’t they just wash up and come to the table?
Let’s give this some second thought. You wet a washcloth and start chasing children to get those grubby little hands washed. You know they hate it, but it’s a Global Pandemic after all! This is NON NEGOTIABLE. It's a new fact of life, scrub those hands (and if you’re lucky maybe a face before eating).
But what have we done here?
-We've partnered an enjoyable thing: dinner with our fam jam
-With a thing we hate: wash up with scratchy, stinky cloth
In order to get to the thing we want we have to go through the thing we hate. I’d run away too!
So what can we do differently here? The answer is actually far simpler than you realize.
-fill up your kitchen sink with some warm soapy water, think lotsa bubbles
-set up a stool near the sink
-chuck a boat, toy, your kid’s utensil in the sink
-then invite your little one to come PLAY in the WATER
-have a soft cloth for dry up, or better yet teach your mini how to dry up on their own
See what you did there? Replaced the torture of the premeal wash up with PLAY!
Otherwise getting this guy to shift from “playtime” to “mealtime” is gonna be a struggle. Sigh.
You can also handle post meal wash up in the same way. When the meal is over, have your wee ones carry what they can to the kitchen. Then it’s back to the sink to dip those hands. As tempting as it can be to grab that scratchy washcloth, TRY THIS...use your hands. Get in that sink, blow some bubbles, dip the utensils or toys, then use your hands to clean their hands and face. Think fun here, bubbles on your nose and their nose. Maybe you have a fun wash up song you can sing? A slow running tap with warm water can be quite calming to let little hands run through. Teach them to dry up on their own with that soft cloth.
If you are really pressed for time here, just head straight to the tub and begin your bedtime routine. The sooner those little lovelies are in the bed, the sooner you can put your feet up and miss them.
Next up, shall we chat about the use of the dreaded face cloth at the table?