Going from weaning to toddler teatimes can be a completely different experience from child to child. As your little one is becoming more independent and wanting to express that autonomy, they can make eating times a little more… challenging. So here are our top tips for managing mealtimes:
Be confident of what’s within your control
Despite loving peas yesterday, all your toddler may do today is throw them around – and this is totally normal. Every day can be different, and it’s important to remember that you are only responsible for the what, when and where of mealtimes. This means providing a balanced and varied diet across 3 meals and 2 snacks each day, in a relaxed and enjoyable environment. Ideally, these are at similar times each day and for a set time period, like 20 to 30 minutes.
Allow your toddler their independence
Giving your little one a sense of independence is key to getting them engaged with and enjoying mealtimes. This could be as simple as giving them a choice between two different foods, or allowing them to decide when they’ve had enough.
Our language and behaviour around food are reflected in our little ones’ behaviours, even into adulthood. Cooking isn’t for everyone and some of us simply don’t have the time, but you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. Simply enjoying mealtimes and involving your child in the food shopping – and in the preparation and cooking of meals and snacks – can help to build lifelong healthy habits.