It’s no secret to any mum ever that mealtimes with kids can be hectic. The frustration of everyone eating different meals, dealing with the mess that toddlers create as soon as your back is turned for a few seconds, and of course, the complete nightmare of trying to drag the children away from whatever they are doing for a few minutes just to eat something is a daily problem for many.
Food Is Life
It’s also no secret to mums everywhere that food is vital! Not only does it do the obvious of helping your family to survive and thrive, but instilling good food habits, good eating habits, and good table manners in your children from an early age will really help them throughout their lives. The pressure might seem high, but to help you achieve this, here are four tips to help you create a harmonious mealtime environment so that everyone can eat well, enjoy their food and not feel like they’re missing out on anything!
Get Into A Routine
You’ve all seen Supernanny and how much she loves her routines. The secret here is: it’s because they work. Go further than just the routine, though, and allow your children the freedom and independence to know what’s going on and be ready for it. Prepare them by letting them know, “Dinner will be at 6:00 pm” and at 5:50 pm give them a time check to let them know that dinner will nearly be ready.
Giving them a set routine and a time check allows them to build the independence to come to the dinner table without it being a shock and dragging them away from their games!
Have Fun With Food
Kids explore their food with more than just their taste buds and, while good table manners dictate that food should remain on your plate until it goes in your mouth, allowing younger children the opportunity to explore their food is a great way to introduce new foods to them.
If you’re worried about the mess, why not invest in a coverall weaning bib? Bibado has some great options for babies and toddlers, and they come in some fantastic prints and fabrics.
Everyone Eats The Same
Have you heard other exasperated mums talking about the different meals they cook every night? Sounds horrible, right? You can try having a rule that everyone must eat the same. This instils good table manners and reduces the risk of fussy eaters developing. It’s also fine to have a rule that kids may dislike something, but they must try it first.
Where this falls down is with allergies, or where for example one child is perhaps vegetarian. What you can do though is serve a variation on a theme.
Eat Healthily (most of the time)
Kids follow examples, and if they see parents eating proper heathy blanched meals, they are more likely to choose decent healthy food for themselves as they get older.
That’s not to say treats can’t happen though, feel free to indulge every now and again, but be sure to remind the children that it’s a treat or a luxury and shouldn’t be eaten every day.