Spoiler alert - there’s no magic wand here we’re afraid but there are a few simple things you can take on board at those key times of the day. Here are our best tried-and-tested ideas that will help you head in the direction of stress-free family mealtimes.
1) Be prepared – do you need some help with that?
Children love discovering the new tastes and textures of food at their own pace. Rather than present a new, ‘strange’ food on their plate, which can be daunting, get them involved in the meal prep. Older ones can help with the washing, cutting, stirring, whilst very little ones will benefit from simply watching you do the prep and giving them a chance to touch and smell the ingredients where possible.
2) Building Confidence and Independence – "All By Myself!"
If not already you will soon become very familiar with this phase! We’re 100% about giving children the tools they need to crack on and succeed! All Nana's Manners products are designed by us to meet children where they are and support those next stages of their development. That's why they're multi-award-winning and used by experts (that we don't pay to endorse them). We all want mealtimes to be as stress-free as possible. Kids love to do things 'all by themselves’ - because independent learning is always the best kind!
3) Take your time (!) – don't plan on rushing anywhere anytime soon…
Mealtimes will take a lot longer with small people, which can be stressful in time-poor situations. Trying to get little ones to ‘eat quickly’ is rarely a success. Instead, try to work around the situation – could you pack a lunchbox and eat it on the way or at the place you need to be? Perhaps even leaving earlier and eating when you get there could help? Thinking flexibly could save a lot of pressure and stress.
4) Are you sitting comfortably? - then we'll begin...
We know children need to sit upright with their back supported but have you thought about their legs? Next time you’re using a knife and fork try taking your feet off the floor as you cut – tricky isn’t it?! Children also need something supporting their feet to allow them to eat comfortably and independently. A high chair such as Stokke’s Tripp Trapp is ideal, or a support – such as a box – can be placed under their feet.
5) Manage your expectations! - and you will not be disappointed...
Food enjoyed and a clean floor? A very unlikely combination! Every day, every mealtime, will be different. Try to enjoy the successes and chalk the less easy-going mealtimes down to experience. Parenting is always a journey, not a destination - be kind to yourself.