Equipment at the meal table

Use these great tips to make mealtimes fun for your toddler

Usually, after they complete a year, toddlers try and start feeding themselves. They attempt to use their own hands to hold the food, explore it and play with it. By 2 years of age, they start adopting self-feeding skills better. And naturally, it comes as a relief for mothers, as they need not coax their little ones to eat, like they used to. However, mealtimes are very important for toddlers and should not to be taken lightly. Their motor skills and ability to recognise food items increase during this phase. And you can make it fun by taking small but significant steps to boost their independence. Fun and colourful utensils for feeding toddlers can help especially. This will attract their attention, encourage them to explore items like spoons and bowls, and instil healthy eating habits.

Fun utensils to make mealtimes magical

It is good to note that apart from the right food, you need to provide the right bowl, plate and other utensils like spoons, to make eating more fun for your little one. Choosing the right utensils for toddlers can be easy if you follow the below tips:

  • Buy utensils with handles that have rubber grips, so that your child can hold them well.
  • Look for the right-sized utensils that are suitable for their little fingers.
  • Check the age suggestion on the label of the utensil.
  • Pick pint-size bowls and plates with suction cups underneath, as they will prevent the utensil from sliding and slipping off the table.
  • Go for fun designs like cartoon characters that will keep your child excited.
  • Plates with compartments are ideal as they can prevent mingling of different foods.
  • Make sure you choose only BPA-free plastic utensils, because the others may be harmful to a toddler’s health. These days, different types, colours and shapes of utensils are available, to make eating fun for your child. The utensils can range from complementary feeding cups to spoons, forks, partition plates, snack pots and more.

Remember to let your child try and have messy fun while he/she practises to eat with those little fingers.

Ambience matters

Once you have found the right utensils for your child, it is important to create the right environment during mealtimes. A mealtime should ideally be a time when the family comes together and sets an example for toddlers, so that they understand the importance of healthy eating. The multiple benefits of a well-organised mealtime are:

  • Social interaction - Parents and family members at the table can boost a child’s self-esteem and mood. Simple talking during mealtimes can give you a chance to identify your child’s problems and address them at the earliest. Mealtime is the ideal time to talk and listen to your kid without any distraction.
  • Comforting time - Regular mealtimes are comforting for your toddler and may improve their appetite. Knowing that the whole family comes together can be very assuring to the child.
  • Teaching and monitoring time - A family eating together gives the toddler an opportunity to learn about portion sizes and healthy food habits. It is a time when you can make healthier choices yourself to guide your little one. Remember that you should not follow drastic diets in front of your child, as he or she might develop a negative idea about food. Complaining about excess weight gain and counting every calorie consumed are negative behaviours which can impact a child’s opinion about food.

What not to do at mealtimes?

Mealtimes are meant to be happy and healthy, and they should not turn into battle zones. Research says that toddlers try different foods when they are less pressurised and stay stress-free at mealtimes. So, remember not to yell at your child if he does not eat. Stay calm and cool to encourage your child to eat right.

Following these simple yet crucial steps can give the ideal opportunity to your toddler to grow into a confident and healthy adult.

Conclusion

Mealtimes provide a great opportunity to parents to teach children about healthy eating habits and understand their concerns. And by using the right utensils and creating a comfortable environment, you can make things easy for your toddler. They will soon learn to feed themselves properly and grow up fast.