If your toddler is pulling faces at each spoonful, these food ideas will make dinnertime less of a drag
You may be grinning through gritted teeth as your tot paints the room with tomato purée. Again. But meals don’t always have to mean drama. A few nifty tricks can make food more fun for your baby and heck of a lot easier for you. Double-win.
Create a foodie treasure hunt
‘Toddlers are little pioneers and love exploring, which means they’ll prefer snacking to sit down meals,’ says Lorraine Thomas, Chief Executive of The Parent Coaching Academy. Leave a trail of healthy snacks around the room within their reach. And let him go where no toddler has gone before...
See, touch, play
It may mean a little more washing to the load, but messy eating makes toddlers better at learning. Children were able to name foods more quickly if they’re allowed to interact with it, according to a US study. So lay down some paper towels, roll up his sleeves and let him explore with all the different textures in front of him.
Keep it snappy
It hasn’t even been 15 minutes at the table and your toddler is already wriggling in his high chair. Children have shorter attention spans, so if you serve up slowly he’ll be quicker to reject your food and cause a fuss. Try and dish up in 20 minutes, then let him get back to Thomas, giving you more time to clear up and settle down to your latest boxset.
Make it bright
Imagine if your dinners were a beige mush long into your foreseeable future. Not very appealing, eh? No one wants to be fed the same food day-in, day-out, hence the more colourful his food, the better fun he’ll have with it. Why not make a beetroot dip drizzled with yoghurt, then let your toddler eat it with sliced carrots and red peppers? Yum.
Find your inner actor
Now is the time to perfect your best train, plane or other automobile impression. Kids love playing make-believe and turning dinnertine into a game will stop them from getting bored. So whether you’re pretending to be a hungry hippo or a cookie monster, encouraging their imagination will enhance their overall experience.
How to you make meals more fun?