Saturday 28 February 2015

Making Mealtimes a Fun Learning Experience

There has been a lot in the press over recent years about how the British are losing their grip on the meal time traditions that were once considered the norm. Sitting together as a family is so important as not only is it a great opportunity to get the whole family sitting down together at least once a day, it also offers the opportunity for children of toddler age and up to see and mirror your eating habits. 
From Pinterest

Feature picture credit

Learning new skills and doing things for themselves are both extremely important. Making mealtimes as fun and as grown up as possible certainly helps when teaching little ones to be big boys and girls at the table. 

Picky Eating 

There are few thing as frustrating when it comes to parenting than having a child who will eat everything and anything one week and only red food the next (how many of you are smiling and nodding or gritting your teeth at the memory of this stage just now?). There are a number of ideas for how to get past the picky stage, from hiding vegetables in sauces and other foods, taking a firm stance or not forcing the issue as your little one will dig their heels in prolong the "I don't like any of this" stage. 

Regardless how you and your family have decided to tackle this fun stage many report that injecting fun into the mealtimes often helps. Food arranged by colour, to make faces, or patterns and more turn boring grown up food into something kids want to try. Many parents find that allowing your child to help shop for ingredients, to choose and to help prepare food also breaks down some of the barriers they've put up. 

The Right Utensils 

A large part of learning to eat with the grown up is all about using the utensils right. These rather lovely Zootensils from Skip Hop are brilliantly designed, making it easy for little hands to grip them properly and over time practice and develop their gross motor skills enabling them to move food to mouth properly with ease. 
They also look great! 

It's Only Mess 

Easy to say I know but it doesn't matter how quickly our children are going to get to grips with eating like big boys and girls, there is going to be a fair but of mess along the way. Bibs and aprons are a must and a great idea for saving time and effort when it comes to clearing up is to place an opened bin bag or messy mat under the highchair or grown up chair to catch the majority of anything dropped. 

Sitting Up at The Grown Up Table

It is very exciting for children being able to sit properly at the table with their family. Swapping a highchair for a booster seat signals the next stage of development. Setting a place for the children with their own dinner mat, own special plate, cup and utensils will go a long way to encouraging them to practice their eating skills. 

As with anything, the more fun and interesting we as parents can make learning something new, be this eating like a big boy or girl or even sleeping in a big bed for the first time, the more likely the transition will be a smooth one. 

Happy mealtimes!

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