Making Mealtimes Fun for Your Toddler

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Category: Parenting Tips

The idea of fun at the tea table is a pretty modern concept. It wasn’t so long ago that children should be seen and not heard at mealtimes, but there are plenty of reasons parents might consider injecting a bit of life into their lunchtimes! 

Some children view meals as a chore that interrupts their playing and is more obligation than enjoyment. Adding some fun to mealtimes can not only help them develop a healthy relationship with food but also makes the process more enjoyable for everyone! Whether meals in your house are a battle or a walk in the park, we’ve added some suggestions for how to make mealtimes fun for your toddler.

Children Eat with Their Eyes Too!

It’s absolutely true that we eat with our eyes, perhaps even more so as children. Shapes and patterns can make food much more appealing, and one super-easy way to inject some fun into your children’s lunch is using cookie cutters! Cookie cutters are great at stamping shapes out of sandwiches and snacks like fruit. Counting is a fun way to get your kids involved. For example, grapes or cheese cubes, get them to portion out a certain amount for their lunch.

Shapes aren’t the only great way to make food look more appetising. Adding lots of colour to your children’s meals will not only look more appealing but also makes sure they’re getting a dish with a variety of foods and nutrients. Get your children involved by asking them to think of shapes or colours they’d like to see on their plate. 

Have the Right Tools Handy

Not every parent has the time to be making edible artwork, but you can easily inject some colour into mealtimes with snazzy tableware. Allow them to pick their favourite bowl or the colour plate they’ll use to give them more autonomy over mealtimes. There are so many child-safe fun cutlery options too, which can help your toddler feel grown-up and make them want to be part of grown-up mealtimes.

Fun with food doesn’t have to mean messy meals either! Snack cups are ideal for little ones experimenting with finger foods, and the self-contained bowls have a flexible lid to help keep the mess in while enabling children to help themselves. Snack cups are perfect for children just starting to be more curious about food or those that are fussy eaters. Not to mention these Jamie Kay ones are robust and dishwasher safe, which is exactly what we want for children’s tableware! 

Preparation Is Key

Instead of simply setting a meal down in front of them, invite your child to be a part of the prep before they eat. This will help to nurture an interest in foods instead of just feeling like they’re being summoned when it’s ready. Easy tasks like mashing avocado or mixing ingredients are great to delegate to your little ones, and they’ll eat this with a sense of pride and achievement.

And we’re not just talking about food prep here! Most children work well with a routine, so having a ritual around mealtimes can help them form positive habits. From washing their hands to choosing where they’ll sit, use this time to get them enthused about getting ready to eat. 

A Teddy Bear’s Picnic

There is absolutely a place for play at mealtimes, especially when trying to encourage picky eaters. Lots of us have fond memories of playing tea parties as children, and your early memories like these can help shape your relationship with food in later life. If your child is a reluctant eater, why not allow them to invite their favourite teddy to sit with them at the dinner table? Introducing an element of make-believe to mealtimes can help it feel more fun.

Ultimately you will find that when they’re enjoying mealtimes, so are you. Letting your little ones know that food is something they can enjoy will help reduce stress around mealtimes and make the process smoother.