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.
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.
#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.
#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!
#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.
#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?
Wanting to eat out as a family, read my post on how to make eating out a little easier. Eating out can be difficult and if I’m honest I don’t always enjoy it with a toddler but we went to Prezzo fairly recently and that turned out to be a success.
**Please note we were gifted the Blue Bibetta UltraBib for the purpose of a review. All opinions are my own.