Some kids are happy to eat anything and everything, others, however, aren’t so easy to please. As parents, we only want what’s best for our kids. That's why when they refuse to eat their food at meal times or even sit up at the table, it can be incredibly worrying.
Are they getting all of the nutrients that they need? Will mealtimes always be this difficult? Is it normal that they would prefer to play with their food rather than eat it? These are all normal worries that at some point or another, all of us mums will have.
The good news is that there are ways we can make mealtimes easier, less stressful, and more successful. Want to know how to do that? Here are a few suggestions that I swear by when it comes to mealtimes in my house.
Have a dedicated eating area
Research has shown that kids who eat their food in a dedicated dining area, instead of in front of the TV, are more likely to be healthier eaters. This is partly because the TV can be distracting - mealtimes should be distraction free, and food should be the main focus. This is especially true for toddler and small children.
If you’re lucky enough to have a dining room, take advantage of it. All you need is a dining room table - Mayan Walnut have some lovely designs on offer at the moment that are family-friendly and affordable. If you don’t have a separate dining room, perhaps you could add a table to your kitchen? Or, if you’ve got a kitchen island, maybe you could get stalls for that?
Get into a routine with mealtimes
Just like everything else in your child’s life should have a routine, so should mealtimes. It might seem like a strange suggestion, but trust me, it works wonders. A good mealtime routine could go something like this; hand washing, sitting at the table, having a competition to see who can eat the most dinner. Then, serving dessert if they finish their main meal.
The reason a routine is such a good idea is because it means that your children will know what to expect from dinner time. For example, if your kids know that unless they finish all of their main meal they won’t get dessert, this will encourage them to eat more. This routine of not allowing pudding unless they've eaten their main will help your child to understand that dinner is important.
Make food fun and tasty
Last but not least, make sure that food is fun and tasty. If your little one wants to eat with their hands, don’t stop them. All that matters is that they get all the food that their body needs, how they eat it shouldn’t be an issue.
If you’re in need of a little inspiration to make mealtimes more fun, there’s plenty online. Sites like Pinterest have lots of ideas of easy ways to make mealtimes more enjoyable for kids. It’s just a case of seeing what works well for your little ones.
Mealtimes with kids can be a real nightmare. The best ways to make them easier is to have a dedicated eating area and also to have a mealtime routine in place.