When your child is at any age, it can be a massive challenge in every single way, not least mealtimes. It can be stressful to make some foods, slaving away to make it perfect, only to have them throw it on the floor before they’ve even put a spoonful into their mouth. So are there any aspects of mealtimes that you, as a parent can do to help encourage your child to enjoy meal times, but also to overcome any problems?
This is the first rule that needs to be set in stone. If you don’t eat with the child child, then why should they sit down and eat this meal with you have prepared that is just for them? It makes more sense for you to eat together as a family and eat the same meal if possible. Sometimes it’s not practical, but you need to find a space where you can all eat together. If you don’t have space in the kitchen, you may want to fashion an eating area in your living room, with a high chair that is practical. You can learn more about highchairs and what is perfect for your child’s at that link. But when it comes to finding the perfect items for your child, especially in relation to them eating, sometimes the trick is to not eating separately. In other words, make sure that they feel that they are included, and not different. Yes, this can mean that they need to have a similar looking plate to mommy and daddy, but if it helps them to eat the food, then so be it.
Stick To The Routine
Routine is vital at this stage in a child’s life. So make sure that you keep to the regular meal times as well as snack times. Depending on your child, it can be difficult to structure mealtimes if their naps are very erratic, so always try and make mealtimes after they’ve woken up. It’s much easier if they have three naps during a day, that means that you can plan meal times and snack times when they wake up, so this becomes a routine for them.
Make It Fun
It’s best to get them interested in food by making it visually appealing. So, cut sandwiches into different shapes, you can use cookie cutters to cut shapes out of the sandwiches. Also, decorate the plates, so it looks appealing, like a smiley face or color-code it according to the various vegetables. Or, think about making a game of it so you can reward your child every time they eat a bit.
Get Them Involved
This is probably the most important part, but by giving them a choice in what they want to eat, there is a bit more of a chance that they will not throw it on the floor. Don’t give them too many options, stick to three, and try and get them to be as healthy as possible. Always go for the various components of food groups, from protein, carbs, and fruit and vegetables.
Mealtimes with your child is one of the most important parts of the day, not just because of their health, but it’s the one time you can spend together properly. So make it count.