For years, I have sat at the table long after I am done eating because I had a slow eating child. S was a dawdler, taking his time, enjoying each bite, playing around, exploring the textures of his food. Fast forward to the present and we have a speed eater. There are days he is done eating by the time I get the food served up. He hovers while I cook, waiting for me to start putting food on his plate and is eating each item as I fill everyone's plates. I've said it before but it bears repeating--this kid is gearing up for a major growth spurt! Even if he has had a snack an hour before, he just can't wait the extra few minutes for all the food to hit the plate :p
When he was a slow eater, family time around the table was never an issue. We had plenty of time to go over the day and chat and laugh and remind him to keep eating because we had sat there long enough (I kid! Although there were days I wondered if I would ever be able to leave the table.....). Now, though? He is ready to run off when we are just a short time into dinner. We have had to institute the "May I be excused?" rule. And we get the "But why do I have to sit here?" when the answer is no. He thinks it quite unfair that he has to sit there while we eat; however, once we start talking and he gets a chance to chatter away about his day, he forgets he wants to leave. Now we just need to find a way for him to remember he likes the family chat around the dinner table before he gets upset that he has to sit there!