I know sometimes it can be tough to get your child to eat. There can be lots of factors stopping you from giving your child the nutrition they need. Whether its the simple 'No!!!' that they seemed to have practiced to perfection or whether their refusing to open their mouth (no matter how long you keep the spoon suspended in mid air), they will be prepared everytime to repel your attempts to feed them when they dont want to be fed. With this in mind, we thought we would give you some tips to help in these situations. Ones similar to this little cutie...
(steveagisnaga Youtube Channel)
So adorable right? Well it is! But only when its not you who's trying to feed them. Because you and I both know its not funny at the time and chances are your probably reading this while being frustrated at not being able to do the simple thing of putting a spoon with some food in a mouth. Despite children's naughty behaviour being so adorable at their most naughtiest of times where you can't help but laugh, you do need to find a way to give your child the nutrition you need. And it is for that reason why we here at prams.net decide to write this blog article. Your reading this because you probably have struggled with this predicament in the past or are currently dealing with it or even better your being a proactive parent whos researching before you've even had a child. Whatever your need, I believe these simple tips can help in some way, and as long as someone benefits from even one of these tips, then this article was worth writing. Because as parents, we can do with all the help we can get. Especially when both child and parent have this look on their faces...
That picture really portrays how frustrating it can be for both child and parent doesn't it? The thing is we've all been there. Well at least at some point, I'm sure. But do you know why? Because there isn't a one size fits all solution for getting your child to eat and because every child is different and unique in their own ways (which is absolutely great because it makes us love them more!). That's why this post is NOT here to tell you what your doing is WRONG and that unless you position the spoon at a 83.2 degree angle in an anti-clockwise direction with only your index and pinky finger then science dictates your an unfit parent! (Gosh some of these research findings they come out with are crazy, am i right?). Thats why I believe that you, like me, would just want some simple tips that those parents with experience have tried and tested which have worked for them. You just want a simple list that explains how and why, without having to post questions on numerous forums or read hundreds of pages, before you get the simple things your after. Doesn't seem like it's too much to ask does it? Well its not, because here it is.
Firstly, the best tip anyone can give is, make the child feel part of the family during the meal time. I know you can be tempted to feed the little one seperately, even if it is to simply have a peaceful meal, but it is advisable that you do have children with you at the table. This is to make it easier for the child to adjust and climatise to meal time. So the first tip is to make sure your child sits with you and the whole family during meals. It will make the child more accustomed to the enviroment and he/she is more likely to follow the behaviour of those around him/her at meal time.The best way to do this is by having a high chair so that your child can sit with the whole family. For more info on purchasing the right high chair, check out our buying advice for high chairs. We've worked hard to make you a comprehensive set of guides on what to look for and how to make a truly informed decision, so that you make the best choice for you whenever you buy from prams.net.
Along with having your child with you at meal times, it is important to share food with your child. Sharing or even just tasting the food you are giving your child, can normalise eating and the food that you give them. They will share that experience with you and believe it to be the normal and right thing to do. Obviously, it won't always be as simple as that, but if you try this tip, it can really create a positive vibe as well as make your life easier in future feedings.
When feeding your child talk to them about food. Tell them what your feeding them. Be happy and smiley as you feed them. Regardless of how silly or futile it may seem, you will see the more you engage with your child during eating, you will be more successful. This can obviously take longer or isn't always possible but the longer you invest in this in the beginning, the more it will benefit you as they get older. So make sure you use those trains, planes, cars or animals, to engage them and tell them what their eating, how scumptious or yummy it is, and hopefully they will gain a better association with the food. In turn this would lead to you having a less stressful time in the future.
Get your child used to a spoon as soon as possible. This is a handy tip because many parents do not see a point in giving a child a spoon if they don't understand how to use it. And I can totally accept that idea and also there maybe fears that the child will hurt him/herself. This is wrong attitude to have towards this as it can really help to climatise and familiarise your child to the process of eating. If they can hold the spoon quite easily (obviously please make it a plastic one), put a little bit of food, just a sliver, so they can taste it at the end of the spoon. Think of it like putting toothpaste on the tooth brush and handing it to your child. It does also work with tooth brushes aswell, but we can get into that in another article. A tip within a tip is: be sure you protect the area where the high chair has been placed, as the food and cutlery can start flying around all over the place. This can really help as some children repsond to the autonomy they have been given, and some react by enjoying the food without acknowledging it. Either way it helps with feeding issues and children can come to associate that taste with positivity, spurring them to future eating. So be sure to give your children the spoon as early as possible.
This last quick tip is one that is often forgotten. Make sure you create a happy enviroment around the dinner table. It's so easily forgotten despite it's immense importance, due to our busy lives and a culmination of all the stresses that come with our day-to-day activities. Therefore, it may seem really simple, but I felt the need to remind parents because ensuring a happy enviroment during meals and moreso at home in general, is very very important. In regards to feeding, it is necessary for a child when feeding that they are surrounded by a happy atmosphere because this will make them associate meals with a good feeling. This means it is crucial to leave the squabbles, shouting and stressful talk, far away from the dinner table. Children pick up on so much more than we even realise at times, so it is important to be wary of this. This will ensure your baby feeds better as they grow and what's equally important is the that you will find yourself less stressed leading to you being more attentive to your child. Knowing you have to create a happy enviroment for your child, can also distract you from the stresses you do have as for that meal because you neeed to, you can just focus on that meal. And that ladies and gentlemen will make this whole process so much more enjoyable and easier to handle.
As mentioned earlier, the aim of this article was solely to help you during the feeding process with some quick and easy tips. It is not by any means a definitive list, and we hope that these few ideas are helpful in anyway. We here at prams.net wish you luck with your future feeding endeavours and hope that we have given you some advice that can make the whole process a lot easier. On that note, I would like to leave you with the well known saying that I pride myself in: 'a family that eats together, stays together.' Good luck!