Today’s Blunder: “Teaching toddlers to eat like adults is not critical. Make it fun for them and easy for you!”
Ah yes, feeding toddlers. Before we had children, we saw the cartoons and pictures of parents and walls covered with food. Could they be true? Apparently the answer is yes and no. We have found food under the table, in their hair, in our hair and on our walls. Our blunder? Not making it an interesting and fun experience for the children to keep their food on their plate and in their mouth.
Finding ways to make it an interesting and fun experience for has been an adventure for us. Some things worked and some did not work at all. Hopefully we can prevent you from making the blunders that we made.
1. Make them curious and proud of food
When we discovered that combining the curiosity of our children with their protective nature of anything that is theirs, it changed the way the children treat their food. We introduced simple card games, where the winner would choose the dish of the day and the other children would help in the preparation of the dishes. Make in fun and leverage their curiosity.
2. Use different plates and cutlery for them
We started with having all our plates the same, ours and those of the children. What a blunder. Once we shifted to children plates, it changed they way they approached food. They could choose which plate to use and also if they wanted to have their food touching or separate. It also created a sense of identify for the children, as they could personalize it for themselves. After lots of trials and errors, what worked for us were the skip hop plates, as they have a lot of different animal designs as well as compartments that help when serving the food.
3. Make drinking easier for you and an exercise for them
Drinking, sounds easy. The number of times we’ve had to clean up spilled water and milk far exceeds, in some mystical way, the amount of times we have poured them drinks. Either by accident with their elbows, or tilting the glass too far, or using as a bath for their fingers. We’ve made many blunders that could have been prevented. Even hygienic blunders. An example would be getting a sealable mug, only to find out that no amount of washing would clean the lid, thus resulting in mould growing in it. Yuck. Then we had to make sure that the cups were BPE free and would not shatter into dangerous shards if broken (has happened!). We found that using a 3-piece bottle, allows us to easily clean it as well as mix and match to keep it fun an interesting. It also prevents tiny fingers from getting into the water or milk. In addition, if it gets knocked over, there is no harm. Having them opening and closing the lid, as helps with their hand-eye coordination as well as micro-movement control. We couldn’t live without them.
4. Eating on the go
What to do when traveling? We always struggled when we went on a walk, or a car ride, or to the beach. We’ve tried plastic bags which we had to rip open, zip loc bags which worked great for a single type of food, and then lunch boxes. Honestly, we went overboard with lunch boxes. We tried so many different ones and didn’t know what to judge them on. Should we take the cute ones, or the vacuum sealed, or the thematic ones. Then we read about a lunch box designed by 2 mothers that had experienced the same blunders as we did. We tried it and liked it, the boys tried it and loved it. The box creates a sealant that separates every chamber when closed. This prevents odours from mixing and also allows for more fluid type of foods (like apple sauce). In addition it cleans easily and is made of very solid material. We haven’t had one break in 3 years now. It also allows us to be more creative with the lunch boxes and as a result the children look forward to opening them everyday.
All parents experience blunders, it’s part of the learning process. Our food blunders are becoming less and less, but we still make some. Hopefully we helped you preventing the 4 blunders that we made.
Which food blunders did you make and how did you learn from them?