Meal times should be enjoyable, but when you’ve got a stubborn little one to feed, they can be stressful. For some parents, meal times may seem like a battlefield. Yes, it’s bound to get a bit (or a lot!) messy, especially when your tot starts feeding themselves. There may be tantrums over the type of food being served, and they may even resist your help in the feeding process. Don’t despair if this sounds all too familiar – there are lots of things you can do to bring the joy back to meal times.
Toddlers, in many ways, are like teenagers. They are learning to navigate their world, they are extremely inquisitive and they are trying to gain more control over some parts of their lives. The major difference is, unlike teens, toddlers have had zero control – up until now. Eating is the first thing they learn to control, and in many cases, they will try take advantage of the situation. And to be fair, who can blame them? They are learning to master their independence.
The key to mastering meal times is to give your tot an appropriate amount of control. It is your responsibility to prepare and serve them healthy, appropriate meals, but leave it up to them to decide how much they want to eat, and which parts of the meal they want to eat.
Toddlers are notoriously picky eaters and may select one or two meals they love, and seemingly refuse to eat anything else. Many parents offer those same meals every day out of pure desperation to get their tot to eat. This, however, is not the answer to a healthy diet, and parents should not fall into this habit. Your tot won’t starve, and if given other foods, will rather become flexible with their eating habits than eat nothing at all.
Variety is key when it comes to getting your little one to eat. Try offer them a few different foods on their plate at each meal time. This doesn’t mean cooking various meals – simply add a few pieces of chopped fruit or veggies, or even some yoghurt to whatever food you have prepared. The more variety you can introduce, the better.
Don’t give up on a food first time round. If your child won’t try something, don’t force them to eat it, but introduce it again a few days later. Children can be slow to accept new flavours and textures, and studies have shown it can take up to 20 times before they’ll accept something new!
As difficult as it may be, don’t negotiate with your tot. Offering them dessert as a reward for a few more bites is not sustainable, and may create an expectation of this happening after every meal.
Have family meals together as often as possible. Set a place at the table for your tot. It’s good for them to see their parents are siblings eating healthy meals together and enjoying the time together.
Your tot’s “crockery” and cutlery can go a long way in making meal times less messy. Vital Baby’s Power Suction Plate and Bowl are a game-changer!
With super suction power, the Vital Baby NOURISH™ power™ suction plate has been designed to help prevent tipping and spills. It sticks to your baby’s highchair or a table with super suction power and has been proven to have the strongest suction pad available.
Easy to use, simply place this baby plate on a table or highchair tray and twist for less mess and less stress at meal times!
With powerful super suction, the Vital Baby NOURISH™ power™ suction bowl has been designed with scooped sides to help prevent tipping, spills and splats. This baby feeding bowl sticks to your baby’s highchair or your kitchen table and has been proven to have the strongest suction pad.
Simply place it on a table or baby’s highchair tray, flip and twist for less mealtime mess and stress!
Follow Vital Baby on social media: @vitalbabysa
Vital Baby products are available at Clicks, Babies R Us, Loot, Baby City, Takealot and at www.babiesafrica.com.