Eating together is a great way to connect and catch up on the day’s events. If having more family meals is on your resolution list this year, check these tips to keep the experience fun and make it happen.
Tip #1: Schedule activities around meal time.
Lots of families have to juggle conflicting schedules with after school practice taking over dinner time and try to fit in meals around their activities. Try to schedule activities around meal time to help you make family meals happen more often.
Tip #2: Set up regular time for meals and snacks.
Setting up regular times for meals and snacks ensures kids are hungry and ready to eat when it is time for meals. As parent, you decide WHAT, WHEN and WHERE food is served.
Tip #3: Serve food family-style
Kids have a natural ability to self-regulate. Let your child decide WHETHER and HOW MUCH to eat by serving food family-style so she can
serve herself as much as she wants and eat as much as she wants.
Tip #4: Wait until everyone is seated before starting to eat.
Tip #5: Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices.
Turn off the TV, phones and other electronic devices so you are eating together without distraction.
Tip#6: Keep it fun!
Keep the experience pleasant by talking about fun topics that kids can participate in.
Tip #7: Introduce new items with familiar, loved foods.
Resist the temptation of pressuring kids to try something new. Kids need 8-10 exposures on average to one food before they are willing to taste it.
Kids who help prepare food are more likely to taste it and eat it. So get your kids in the kitchen.
Tip #8: Treat all foods equally.
Be relaxed and treat all foods equally. It helps develop healthy attitudes towards foods. For example, avoid offering foods such as chocolate and desserts as rewards for eating meals.
Tip #9: Try breakfast instead of dinner.
For some families, breakfast is a better time to sit down and connect with everyone. Try breakfast together instead of dinner together.
Tip #10: Have wipes handy.
It is normal for kids, especially preschoolers, to spill some foods as they feed themselves. Things will improve as their motor skills develop.