Watching over your little bundle of energy during mealtime is a tedious task to manage. Moreover, messy/restless eating coupled with all the running around in the house, can increase the chances of choking.
Here are a few tips to handle a messy child and ensure well-mannered eating.
Your tiny tot is not deliberately a mess at the dining table. While you strive to instil appropriate table manners in your kid, your over-enthusiastic toddler is still developing his motor skills, which is the reason for his chaotic eating at the dining table.
"Your tiny tot is not deliberately a mess at the dining table"
What do you do to handle your little bundle of energy?
Be a role model- As you try to nurture the best in your little one, you must be the person you want him to become. Follow the habits you want to instil in him. For e.g. avoid walking while consuming your meal, don’t eat in front of the TV/laptop, etc.
Present food in a simplified manner- Make sure you offer easy-to-eat food to your child. Cut fruits into small pieces and break the chapatti into bits. This practice helps in the digestive health of toddlers.
Be calm and avoid anger- Spilling food and being messy is a part of growing up. Make sure you stay neutral in your expressions and don’t end up scolding your kid as that might lead to repulsive behaviour.
Reward and praise- Acknowledging your child’s good manners can help her to build the right habits. Praise and reward your toddler for sitting nicely at the table and eating properly.
Follow a routine- Train your kid everyday by helping him follow the same mealtime routine daily. Ask him to set the table, put the mat and spoons on it etc. This will help him gradually imbibe the habit.
To entice your child’s interest and drive his attention towards the dining table, you can use attractive cutlery and table mats with his favourite cartoon characters. This will make your kid want to spend more time at the dining table, thereby making mealtime an enjoyable experience.
Hold realistic expectations: Lastly, accept the fact that changing behaviours and imbibing habits is not a day’s task. You need to be patient with your kid and help him or her understand the importance of good table manners.
You strive to bring out the best in your kid; all you need is some planning and guidance to nurture your toddler and allow them to develop into a well-mannered child at the dining table.