The couple of hours before dinner can be a struggle. I know that if he snacks in that time, he will almost definitely not eat dinner. That being said, it's also hard to keep him from snacking when he's begging for snacks.
Take yesterday for instance. At 4, we headed to the park to keep ourselves busy (dinner is at 5ish). It was a fairly long walk (about 3-4 blocks), and Henry did it all himself. So, when he asked for a snack, I figured he was hungry and gave him a graham cracker. From that point on, it was all he wanted. So, we decided to go home. On our way up our block, Henry decided he wanted to stop in and see his Aunt Amy (my sister lives across the street from us). So, we stop in. His oldest cousin was eating sushi rice and there were chicken nuggets on the table. I wasn't offering either, but either way, he didn't want them. Instead, he went to the snack closet, and started trying to take the snacks out. Fast forward to a temper tantrum that sends us straight home.
Now it's 4:25. Not quite dinner time, but I figure maybe he's really hungry since he's begging for food. I give him a corn on the cob and a chicken leg. He takes a couple of tiny bites, and throws everything on the floor. Dinner is clearly over. So, we play, watch a show, take a bath, and get into pajamas. We head back downstairs at 6:30 when Henry gets to watch another TV show. This is the point that I try to eat dinner. He sees my plate of food, and proceeds to eat all my broccoli, some of my corn, and tries (and spits out) a piece of tofu. While I was thrilled that he chose to eat broccoli and corn, I'll admit that I was sad I no longer had broccoli (that was the last of what we had). Maybe one day I'll figure out Henry's actual dinner time.
Happy and (mostly) healthy eating!
What time do you feed your kids dinner?