Make mealtime enjoyable for your child: A Step by Step Guide
Feeding a child can be a heavy responsibility on a daily basis. One day we have the opinion that they will never have enough to eat and the next day they do not want to touch anything. One day they like eggs and the next day they only inspire them with a “berk”. At this point, kids are still learning a lot about eating — what they like and what they don’t — but they’re also testing limits and learning social rules as well. This is a lot to organize for a developing mind, so trying to Meal a Nice Time can work better and thus make for a more balanced eater and more enjoyable meals for the whole family. How you can make mealtime enjoyable for your child? Let’s learn this art in this very informative article of www.kidsrush.com.
Let your child help you prepare the meal
Let your child decide what to eat for dinner
Let your child pick a meal. Come up with various options you can make from selected foods and let them choose what they want to eat or how they want your chosen food to be prepared. Leave a time limit and offer only two choices.
Take your child shopping with you
Let your child help you choose groceries at the supermarket. This can be an event to find out exactly what your child likes and also teach them the names of different foods.
Let your child help you in the kitchen
Involve your little one in the arrangement of meals. Put on an apron and chef’s hat on your kid and name him or her your official assistant. Allow it to pass you the food you need to cut and wash, allow it to mix the ingredients, and give it a piece of dough to knead. Children prefer to eat food that they have cooked themselves.
Grow your own vegetables
If you can manage it, let your child grow the vegetables in your garden. Water together and choose fruits, vegetables, and herbs, this will help your child to feel more concerned with the foods they eat before they even start to prepare them.
Get your child to set the table
Let your child put the plates and cutlery on the table. Give your child special cutlery, in a particular shape and color, or adorned with their favorite cartoon character.
Allowing your child to choose flowers for a central bouquet can also help make the meal “special,” which will make your child feel more invested in the dishes on offer. You can read our very interesting article about 5 questions about lactose intolerance in children also.
Create fun meals
Cut out your child’s food in funny shapes
One of the easiest ways to make a child eat well and enjoy mealtimes is to make them creative moments. Even something as simple as a sandwich or pancake can be fun if it is cut into a unique shape. To get started, you’ll just need a few easy-to-find cookie molds and a sharp knife.
Add original sauces to your child’s meal
To make the meal even more fun, add sauces to plastic bowls made to appeal to kids and let him experiment. Some kids like ketchup and some are going to be more adventurous, so try a few different sauces and let them taste it. It is also a good way to introduce more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
Make creations with the sauces. Spread them over the dish, giving them interesting shapes. Draw a star, a heart, write something, or smile. To achieve this kind of drawing, you will proceed more easily by using a bottle with a reduced opening.
Carrot puree is great for soaking vegetables. Its beautiful color is attractive and the simple act of soaking its food is fun enough to encourage the child to try at least a bite or two of it.
Here are some other dip suggestions: unsweetened apple puree, hummus, peanut butter lengthened with a little water, and mild salsa sauce.
Rename the foods to make them more interesting
Another simple idea for making meals fun is to rename foods. A kid who loves dinosaurs may come to love broccoli too if you call them “dinosaur trees.”
Surround the main course with dinosaur-shaped nuggets and your child will likely be the first to sit down at the table. It doesn’t matter if he plays with his food, even a small epu, as long as it allows him to eat it.
Present meals in a different way
Make a mountain of grated vegetables. In addition to giving the food a new and attractive shape, it will be easier for your child to grab and chew.
Convert cutlery into planes or birds
If your child doesn’t want to open his mouth to eat, you can encourage him to do so by turning the spoon into an airplane or a bird and your little one’s mouth into an airport or a nest.
Use your child’s food to teach him a lesson
For example, by arranging carrot pieces on her plate like a clock, you can encourage her to eat carrot pieces by teaching her the time. Ask him to show you 3 hours, six hours, etc.
Include your child’s name in their dishes
- Create various facial expressions with food to teach your child to figure out emotions like sadness, joy, anger. Use sauces and chunks of vegetables for eyes and mouth. The plate or a piece of bread can be used as a face.
- Teach your child to count by having him count the pieces of food on his plate and ask him how many are left to finish.
- Learn colors by asking your little one what color the vegetable they are eating.
Write your little one’s name on his dish using any sauce. Tell him that you made a special meal for a special child, just for him.
Color your child’s dishes
Even though most foods for kids are beige or white, which makes dish colors a bit boring, you can make them more fun by adding a splash of color. Try to use natural dyes when possible, for example:
Pancakes can be colored green by adding spinach to them. Carrots can give food an orange color, for example, you can add mashed carrots to your regular mashed potatoes. Beets can make food purple, etc.
Play pretend while you eat
Play pretend you’re at a restaurant. You would be the waiter who explains to your child what the specialty of the day is (which is the dish you have already made, of course).
Have a picnic. If you have a garden, you can organize the meal on the lawn. If you don’t have a garden, or the weather doesn’t allow you to go outside, why not have a picnic, on the ground, in the living room?
Create a fun atmosphere
Try to appear content during meals
Meals should be a time when family members should enjoy each other, even the youngest. Stay relaxed and so will your child.
Don’t force your little one to eat more than he wants
Start by serving your child in small portions so that they don’t feel overwhelmed, and try to avoid berating them by making them eat “just a little more”. Pleasant meals should encourage a lifetime of healthy attitudes around food.
Try not to rush your child and stay at the table until they are finished
Don’t rush your child. Give it enough time to eat a meal and not add extra pressure to it.
Eating together is a fun family activity. Set an example for your child. Turn off the television and enjoy a pleasant moment of conversation during your meal.
Stick to a routine
Habits are important. The meal should always be served at the same time as this, eating becomes a habit and the child will always be hungry enough by the time the dish is served.
Invite your child’s friend to dinner
Invite a child to join the dinner. The meal always seems more interesting to children when they have company.
Allow a little mess
Worrying about cleanliness at mealtime can add extra stress to your child. Expect there to be a bit of a mess and let it be, at least until your child gets a little older.
Advice from Kidsrush.com
Let your imagination run wild when it comes to finding new ways to engage your child in meals.
Originally published at https://kidsrush.com on August 21, 2020.