We know that mealtimes can be tricky, so we have put together some tips to make mealtime fun for your child.
Create a routine
Creating consistent meal and snack times helps to ensure that your child is hungry at mealtimes. Consistency will regulate your child's appetite and ensure they can enjoy their meals. Minimise distractions such as toys, phones, and TV to make mealtimes more special and ensure your child is focused on eating.
Get the whole family involved
Children learn best through modelled behaviour, so you must set a standard for mealtime. Show your children that they can enjoy different foods by preparing new meals for them to try. Your child will learn how to chew, enjoy a variety of meals, and learn how to use utensils by watching you model this behaviour at mealtime. Ensure mealtimes are enjoyed while sitting at the table so they can learn the mealtime routine. Mealtimes can be a special time for families to get together and bond. Make mealtime a fun experience for the family by turning it into a game and discussing each other’s day. Mealtimes can also be a great day to talk about feelings. Ask your child questions to find out how they are feeling and discuss those feelings together.
To entice your child to try new food, try and be creative! Try cutting food into shapes or creating shapes on the plate using different types of food. Once your child is old enough, you can ask them what shapes or animals they can see on the plate and take requests, so they look forward to the next meal. Create a healthy, colourful meal with a variety of different fruits and vegetables to stimulate your child’s brain and appetite!
Reward good behaviour
As your child makes progress, ensure your reward their good behaviour with descriptive praise. Tell them what they are doing well at and encourage them to keep up the good work. Avoid using food as a punishment for bad behaviour or a bribe so that your child doesn’t view certain foods in a negative or positive light. Positive encouragement will help make mealtimes an enjoyable experience for you and your child.
Your child won’t change their behaviour overnight, so it is important to keep trying and stay consistent. Reward their good behaviour and encourage them to continue to try to improve. Try different techniques to make each mealtime fun and unique.