Friday, May 6, 2016

How to improve meal time with your Toddler

I've learned a lot about how to make meal time with my toddler go more smoothly. I'm no expert, but I have caught on to a few things that make our meal time more relaxing and enjoyable.

1. Give your toddler choices. Whenever Aiden starts throwing a fit at dinner and food starts to fly, I try to put myself in his shoes. He can't communicate exactly what he wants, which is frustrating. He has control over very little in his life. He wants what he wants and he wants it now. When I think about him as a tiny person and consider how he is feeling, it helps me to deal with his tantrums. He isn't just being mean and making a mess for me because it's fun for him. He is doing his best to communicate something that is going on in his brain. Because of that I always find it better to give him choices. I let him pick which color spoon he wants to use. I let him pick if he wants to use a spoon or a fork or heck, even both at the same time. I use divided plates to give him options on what he gets to eat first so he feels he has some control over the meal I've stuck in front of him to eat. I even let him choose a toy to keep with him on his tray. Fun placemats can make meal time more fun too. We are currently using this one.

2. Make meals a fun family bonding time. Sit down at the table together and actually include your toddler in the meal. Serve him what you're serving. Involve him in conversations and don't talk over him! Children pick up more than you think and they know when they aren't being included. I've noticed that if my husband and I are talking back and forth or if we are on our phones (which we try not to be) that Aiden starts getting frustrated. He wants to be included. I know that meal time is always going to be an important family time in our house so why not set that precedent now.

3. Use products that are Toddler friendly. That means two things: easy to use and easy to clean. Here are a few products that have made my life easier at meal time...
Fun feeding Fork & Spoon set (Pictured above)
These utensils are easy for little hands to hold. They are contoured and easy to grasp even with messy fingers. They are also fun, bright color, which is always important and they are BPA free! I have washed these many times over the last few months and they are durable too. They are my go to utensils for Aiden right now!

Garden Fresh Storage Pots These little storage pots have been a life saver for me. I use them to store any fresh veggie or fruit purees I make. They are also great for dipping sauces or storing leftovers. I've taken yogurt to-go in these as well as homemade applesauce and fresh blueberries for snacking. I love that they come with lids to seal in and preserve flavors and nutrients. These are freezer, dishwasher and microwave safe and hold approximately 2 fl. oz. each.

Ezpz Mini Mat This mat is pure genius. I love that it is a divided plate, but one that STICKS to any surface including a high chair tray or table! Gone are the days of my toddler throwing his plate (and all it's contents) on the ground. I have the mini mat, which is tailored to a baby. The plate is divided with purpose...the eyes and smile of the plate are portion sizes perfect for your infant/toddler 4 months and up. I have my eye on the happy mat, which is geared more toward toddlers 9 months and up as the portion sizes are catered to toddlers. It is also easy to pack up for travel and it comes with a reusable bag you can pop in your diaper bag.
What other tips do you have for making meal time with your little one more fun for everyone?

*I was given these product for free in exchange for a review, but all opinions are my own.


Erin LFF said...

These are great tips, friend! I always love reading about the foods you make and how feeding Aiden has gone! :) Meal time as a family is so important!

The Heart Of A Woman said...

That may is the coolest thing ever! I'm getting some!! I would say bye to food being on the floor, but Briley throws her food!!! Ha

Rach @ This Italian Family said...

I've seen these silicone-type plates that suction to tables and I think they are SO cool!

Anne said...

Oh that plate looks awesome... we've had a couple of issues with picking up and tipping the plate lately and just avoiding that headache sounds nice! Since last summer I've been working on the make mealtime fun idea too, which I'm actually working on a post about now! Personalized placemats are a bit hit here, as well as fun napkins (I have quite a collection from Ikea as well as leftovers from holiday/birthday parties) - Hendrik gets to pick out his own and help set the table with them and he loves it! Your tip about choices is such a good one too.