Do you dread mealtime with your littles? I know I do. It seems to be a constant back and forth battle so I decided to come up with some ideas to make it more enjoyable for all parties involved – including Me and the kiddos 😉 Since putting the tips below into action, Riley is now excited to get in his hi-chair and I’m excited to prepare and feed him a meal. Most of the time?
Here are some tips:
- Mealtime Warning – Prepare them that meal time is right around the corner. I always give Riley a five-minute warning that he will have to put his toys down and get into his hi char. When his food is prepared I then let him choose where he would like to leave the toy he is playing with and reassure him he can go back to it eat after eating. I read somewhere that it is important to give toddlers a warning when you are going to be switching from one activity to the next so they are not caught off guard. This has really worked well for us, not only for meal time but all other activities.
- Set Expectations – No toys on the tray and no TV while eating. From time to time we allow the TV to be on or a toy on the tray- Depending on how exhausted we are (haha) but try not to make it a regular habit.
- Prepare Food – On Sundays, I do a lot of our meal prep including the kid’s food. This makes it so much easier when meal time rolls around and I know that the fridge is stocked with food that is ready to go. Examples of some items I prepare: Steam and cut veggies, drain and rinse beans, cut fruit, boil noodles etc. For the items I don’t cook on Sundays I’ll make double the amount the day of and save the rest for another meal.
- Give Choices – Not everyone will be up for this but I have learned the power of choices goes a long way with a toddler and can avoid several meltdowns…I’m all for that. I give Riley a few choices of what he would like to eat for his main dish. For example, chicken or grilled cheese and then the other items on his plate I choose.
- Make it Fun – Making mealtime fun will make your life way easier and your little ones experience with food more enjoyable. When we feed the kids we always have music on and are singing/dancing. The kids get into the music and are less focused on what they are eating – which sometimes can be a good thing. Another way to make eating fun is the way you present food to your little one. I’ve started to do simple food art, cupcake tins, and food on a stick. They have all been winners!
I hope these tips make mealtime more enjoyable for you and your littles!