Top Mealtime Tips
- Check your child’s mealtime set up: Make sure their feet are flat on the floor or foot rest (you can make your own using old phone books and magazines). They should be positioned at 90 degrees at their hips, knees and ankles) with their bottom at the back of their seat so the back is supported. Children need to be in a supportive position to encourage the little muscles in their mouths to work best!
- Eating is a learned skill, it actually isn’t instinctual. Children learn how to eat by watching others, practice and exposure. Remember children learn through play! Praise your child for any interactions they have with foods (looking, touching, smelling, tasting and chewing/eating).
- Aim to schedule your meal and snack times at the same time most days and develop a consistent routine around these, e.g. remind your child when it is almost time to eat, wash hands together before meal time, sit at the table to eat, bring your dishes to the sink and wash hands to signify the end of the meal time.
- Involve your child in as much of the mealtime experience and allow choice e.g. planning and shopping for foods, cooking and preparation, cutting and self-feeding.
- Allow your child to get messy during a mealtime and support them to wipe their own face/body. It can be helpful to provide them with their own cloth to be in control of this.
- Your child will have the most success eating when they become independent and begin to feed themselves. So remember to allow your child to have a turn, practice and have fun.
- Messy food play is the best! Children learn lots of critical skills for eating when they begin solids, and getting messy is an important part of learning to eat. So ditch the cloth and wipes and allow them to have fun with it.
- There are no rules early on! During mealtimes, eating comes first and manners come second. So allow your child to touch their food, engage with it, learn about it and get noisy before we focus on mealtime manners.
Contact Can:Do 4Kids on 8100 8200 to find out more about our Feeding Service.