Do mealtimes with your little one often turn into a battle of wills? Read on for easy-to-follow, no-nonsense advice perfect for busy mums and hungry tots.
1. Give notice
Give your toddler plenty of notice that it’s nearly time to eat. Wrenching him away from a really fun game is the perfect recipe for tears at the table.
2. Peace and quiet
Minimise distractions at mealtimes, so put away toys, turn off the TV and talk to your little one instead. It’s a great way of getting to know your child better, as well as encouraging her to eat food.
3. Eat with your child
Your little one loves nothing better than being the focus of your attention, so make sure you engage with him during mealtimes. You can chat about what he’s eating, or your own favourite food – it doesn’t matter if he can’t answer back yet; it’ll still give him the message that mealtimes are sociable, fun events!
4. The three Ps – patience, praise and perseverance!
The key to happy mealtimes with your child is to take your time. For young children, food is something to be explored, played with, mashed, smashed and smeared! (And occasionally, even eaten…)
Never underestimate the power of praise. Make a fuss of your little one whenever she tries something new, whether she actually eats it all or not.
Research shows that it can take up to 14 attempts before a baby will try something new. So if she’s refusing a new food, or, more frustratingly, your lovingly prepared dishes, don’t take it personally – just keep trying!