Kids finishing their meal: I'VE FINISHED!!

I guess this is an IMHO thing…

My son is seven. When he’s eating a meal I’ve made him, and he’s alone (maybe in the living room while I’m in the computer room), he will call down the hallway an announcement that he’s finished eating. If I don’t respond, he will call louder until I do. Even a monosyllabic grunt from me or a “duh okay” in acknowledgement is enough to satisfy him, and then he’s back to his video games or whatever. For some reason, this is important to him. Then I got to thinking: I think I used to do this too as a kid. I’ve seen other kids do it as well.

Just now, my young bloke did this after finishing breakfast. His mum, not hearing properly, said to me, “Ben’s calling you.” Then Ben said, “No mum, I’m calling you because you made it for me.”

Do your kids do this? Did you do it? I know this sounds like rather a dull thing to survey, but it seems to be a thing that’s almost hardwired in children.

The only time I remember doing it, or remember my little brothers doing it, was when finishing the meal was contingent on getting down to play, have dessert, or something similar. The announcement wasn’t any different from saying something like, “I mowed the lawn, like you asked.”

The odd thing about it is that I haven’t exactly raised my son in a strict “don’t leave the table until the adults grant you leave” household, just as I wasn’t raised in one myself. As long as I get my ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ when I make the food, that’s enough for me. Ben is just sitting at a little kids’ table near the TV, and there’s no admonishing to finish every last scrap before he is released to do kid stuff. It seems he just wants to tell me. Maybe it’s a kind of accomplishment…

In the same vein, my kids have to tell me when they have to go pee - or worse - and they always have to specify which. Why can’t they just go?? The oldest one is nearly nine and he still does it.

They don’t announce finishing dinner though.

My three year old must not only tell me she is finished, she must physically hand me her plate or else she gets cranky.


We’ve tried to instill some dinnertime discipline into little three-year-old Junior - nobody leaves the table until everyone is done. He obeys the letter of the law, but when he finishes first (which is usual) he says, “I’m done. Mom, are you finished yet? Pop, are you finished yet? Mom, are you finished yet? Pop, are you finished yet?..”

Yes, my kids do/did announce when they are finished. Littlest one, Son of Stonebow, likes to announce his “Happy Plate” any chance he gets. The older two have grown out of it.

Heh, my four year old does this. “Mom, I gotta go pee!” he cries while cupping himself and doing the bladder-dance as we stand literally three feet away from the bathroom door. Go, you odd little thing, go!
Glad to see I’m not alone.

Actually, I remember announcing, “I’m finished” when I was a little kid myself. I can’t remember why, though.



I’ve often wondered if parents’ insistance on kids finishing all that is on their plates has somehow contributed to our obesity problem in the United States. Trained to finish all the food as children, when they go to resturants and recieve gargantuan portions, people are someohow programmed to over-eat in order to try to obey.

Just a theory.


[continuing hijack]

I never finished anything completely, even if I was still hungry (one bite of sandwich, two bites of broccoli, whatever) but I would get a second helping. This drove my brother crazy, and he would always finish off my food when I was done. He couldn’t see food left on the plate.

I, on the other hand, was taught the “clean plate club” because I was underweight and refused to eat anything (out of stubbornness… even ice cream I wouldn’t eat if I was encouraged to).

[end continuing anecdotal hijack]