tips for improving mealtimes?(5 Posts)
We have 2 ds's aged 2 and 4 and mealtimes are descending into chaos. They often jump up and start playing before we have all finished, last week there were a couple of throwing cutlery incidents, the 4 yr old us fussy so there are often complaints about the food. It is not unusual for him to come to the table a instantly Moan/ cry at what is on his plate. We always try and give him food he likes which means we're often cooking 2 different meals.
We eat together as much as poss, except Friday when we put them to bed and open wine and have a lovely adult meal
Has anyone got any tactics we can try to improve things? Have got some stickers to do a reward chart but that us as far as we've got..
Keep it short, simple and a little interactive.
Don't put anything on a plate. Allow everyone to help themselves- even the 2 year old. It may be a range of items or one big pasta/rice dish. Encourage everyone to take as little as they like, repeat loadings are fine. Provide big serving spoons and ladles.
Take the pressure off, allow the kids some control and don't talk about eating.
Keep chat light and good humoured.
I personally run a mile from sticker charts - especially if food is involved.
I'd let them eat earlier on just the 2 of them, I don't think you can expect a 2 and 4 yo to sit at the table quietly for as long as an adult meal might take. A lot of children go through the fussy stage at this age try not to worry about it offer different foods but always have 1 or 2 definate things they like. Don't make to big a deal of meal times if they eat it great if not it goes in the bin and don't get anything else
I would just say they eat what they want, leave what they don't want, but have to remain at the table. Don't pressure them to eat an extra spoon or anything, just offer food then eat yours and have a casual conversation not about food
We have just started a sticker chart for sitting nicely until they are told they can leave the table. It's working.
Regarding fussiness, I am backing off from mixed up stuff, like stir fries, unless I know they like it all. Instead I'm doing more separate bits, so that if they really don't like one bit they can eat the rest. I sometimes do two diff carbs eg mash and couscous with stew as none of them like both and it's little effort to do a bit of couscous.
I am trying to make sure mealtimes don't become a battle, so I tell them they just have to try things. There are yoghurt and fruit for pudding (one of them will come back to her dinner and eat more so I leave it on the table) and then if they are hungry later they have oatcake and cheese. We used to have toast but it was too appetising I think and they'd eat it whether they were hungry or not.
This is just what vaguely works for us.
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