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8 Top Tips To Make Toddler Mealtimes Easier

What one word comes to mind if I say ‘mealtimes + toddlers = ?’

I could probably guarantee that the word ‘messy’ would be in the top 3! From the weaning stage through to them feeding themselves, mealtimes can be one messy event. We’ve learned a few things along the way with our two. Our youngest is now at the stage where he mostly wants to feed himself. Even porridge or Weetabix in the morning has to be done independently. His coordination is actually pretty good its distractions that he struggles with.

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Here are my tips to make mealtimes a little bit easier.

#1. Relax. I know it’s easier said than done but expect a bit of mess and then you won’t be upset by it. Kids are messy, they are learning and that takes time.

#2. If you have a wood/laminate floor then you are winning, much easier to clean up. If you have carpets then consider a large mat to put underneath the high chair.

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#3. A good bib. My all time favourite has to be the UltraBib with sleeves from Bibetta. We had one for my daughter which lasted her from weaning through to about 3 years old. We used it often and so was washed very often and it’s still usable today, in fact we do use it with our son – he doesn’t mind pink, yet! He also now has a lovely new blue one, the material on the arms has changed but still feels like excellent quality. The bottom folds out to form a little pocket to help catch those dribbles of food. It also comes in handy for messy play too.

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#4. Don’t expect toddler to eat huge volumes every mealtime. Yes, it’s frustrating, really frustrating when they refuse something you’ve slaved away in the kitchen to make but make sure your portions are appropriate for their age. Smaller portions are better, you can always give them fruit and a yoghurt after if they are still hungry.

#5. When you begin to let them try using a spoon themselves, leave them to it. I’ve found that it’s when I try to help him he resists and ends up flicking the spoon and it’s contents across the room!

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#6. If they are refusing to eat. Leave them alone for a few minutes without any coaxing or encouragement. If they are hungry they will eventually dig in. If they don’t then so be it, they aren’t hungry. Don’t be tempted to keep bringing out dish after dish till they eat, you’ll waste so much food, time and energy. Offer them a healthy snack later on.

#7. I’m no super housewife, I do give my children the odd ready meal or potato shapes and fish fingers from the freezer but batch cooking homemade food really is the key to keeping costs down and having nutritious food readily available.

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#8. Frozen veg is a lifesaver sometimes. Those days when you get home at 4.30 and the toddler is acting like you haven’t fed him for days, out comes the frozen veg. Boil the kettle and stick the pan with veg on the hob for a few minutes and give them this whilst you get on with cooking the main dish.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom when it comes to making mealtimes easier?

 

**Please note we were gifted the Blue Bibetta UltraBib for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own.

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30 COMMENTS

  1. Good tips! My big challenge these days is just getting my daughter to eat something that’s not yogurt of fruit – I just keep telling myself that this must be a phase and that it will pass. I’d also suggest giving them (limited choice) – ie choosing between two types of fruit for dessert. It helps them feel like they’re in control – and, let’s face it – toddlers love being in control. 🙂 #dreamteam

  2. Some great tips here. I try to make meal times as relaxed as possible with my 2.5 year old. I don’t force her to sit at the table if she doesn’t want to – nothing worse than trying to eat with a tantrum-ing toddler is there?
    Her food is left out for a length of time after we’ve finished eating, until I ask her if she’s finished and the answer is yes – this could be for a good hour! #DreamTeam

  3. Great tips. We have laminated floors and when our kids were toddlers we would put old newspaper under the highchair. This age is all about exploring with food so food will sure be flying all over the show.#dreamteam

  4. These are great tips – I think in general we have unrealistic expectations of how much toddlers should eat and that can really lead to struggles. Their tummies are quite small after all. I used to bung a lot of stuff in the freezer of the stuff she liked in meal size portions and just whip it out and steam it and serve. It really made things less stressful! Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely xoxo

  5. I love that relax is way up at the top of your list!! We’ve always been quite relaxed when it comes to food. Baby led all the way, we always eat at the same time and except for maybe curry we eat the same thing as him, if he doesn’t eat he’s probably not hungry as you say. Family meal time all the way, it’s a fab way to help his speech because we chat about the day (he’s 2) and ask him questions. It’s all good fun.

    ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  6. My tip – clean up Weetabix quickly – that stuff is like cement. Since moving to a house with wood laminate life has been a lot easier. We used to place his high chair on a large towel or drop cloth. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

  7. Great tips. Just let them explore and experiment. They need to learn to love food themselves. That won’t happen with you standing over and dictating to them. My toddler once told me in a restaurant what to eat when and wouldn’t get off my case. From that day on I’ve always asked him if he is going to eat anymore before I clear the plate and left it at that. Nothing like a taste of your own medicine to change your style lol

    #KCACOLS

  8. My son is usually quite good at mealtimes…yes he’s messy but he eats. Sometimes he’s a little reluctant after nursery or pre-school but I’ve realised that’s not because he’s not hungry, more too tired to lift his spoon or fork so I help him out a bit. He’s still eat weetabix for every meal if he could 😂 #KCACOLS

  9. Great tips – lots that I’ve filed away for when my baby gets to the weaning stage! My son is a really fussy eater, and my best discovery has been picnics – he always eats better outside, but if it’s raining and I feel he’s not eaten well for a while, we have an indoor picnic. It works so well! Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  10. Great advice. I remember a health visitor giving me my best advice. Don’t look at each individual meal and worry about what they haven’t eaten. Look at the whole or the whole week and as long as over the week there has been a good balance then that’s ok. We all have periods when we are not overly hungry and children are no different. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

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