Starting to introduce solid food is exciting and is an excellent opportunity to set up some positive mealtime routines. Mealtimes can be so much more than just eating; they are a time for communication, social skills and learning.
It is important to set up routines and positive connections around mealtimes from the beginning, these tips and routines can help your family:
– Eat together; eating is social. Try to have at least one meal together as a family, where you aren’t distracted or multitasking
– Present food so that your baby and or toddler can see the different options and select what they want to try. Try a bento-style lunch box or divided plate. Choice is important and encourages children to try new foods.
– Encourage your little one to try and feed themselves – even when it’s very messy. It’s good for them to explore feeding themselves and getting the food into their mouth. Try having a spoon for them to use and one for you to use (yes two spoons for one meal), you can then take turns feeding them.
– Try to stick to similar time frames, for example, breakfast each day at 8 am, lunch at 12:30 pm and dinner at 6:30 pm, this way your little
– Offer a selection of different foods. It is really easy to just stick with food that you know they love and will eat; however, it is important to keep adding new items and ingredients for them to try. Taste buds change so don’t forget to re-offer some foods again in a few months if they weren’t successful the first time
– Be persistent. I think this is the best advice regarding anything to do with young children, but it is particularly true with starting new routines and solid food. Children go through phases and change a lot, despite the frustrations that this might cause, keep going and keep offering and encouraging solid food.
– Be prepared. Have some ready-made solid food staples on hand, so that mealtimes aren’t forgotten during a busy day. Pre-cook some vegetables or purees and pop them in the freezer, so they are ready when you need them.
– Carry snacks. We all get hungry in between meals, and so it’s helpful to have a small selection with you when you are out and about that you can offer your child. Perhaps a little container with crackers, cereal or fruit that is in your bag – ready for when the hunger hits.
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