Easy Mealtime Strategies for Kids Who Won’t Sit Still
Although it takes time and patience, you can use a few simple tricks to convince your children to eat as expected. Here are some of the key steps you can follow to help your child sit still and stay focused during meals.
Enlist your child's help with meals
Kids who closely participate in meal preparation will be more likely to feel invested in the process and enjoy what they eat. According to the experts, even young children can take part.
For instance, they can pour and measure ingredients for muffins, stir together dry ingredients for cupcakes, press cookie dough into a baking sheet, and place items on a cooking sheet or dish to go in the oven.
Using this hands-on approach also has the added benefit of teaching your child about healthy foods.
Give them a choice of two things to eat
Most children don't enjoy having someone impose their will on them, so give them a choice of what they can eat for each meal. Include the foods you know they'll enjoy but also add in some new or unfamiliar items that are similar enough to their favorite meals.
Ask them if they'd like chicken or beef for dinner, and then follow through with whatever they choose. Don't worry about everyone else in the family getting an equal mix of both types of meat (and limiting your child to just one serving). If your kid needs to try one thing at a meal, let him or her taste it and then move on to something else.
Make it a daily ritual
It might seem like your kid's days are packed to the brim, but carve out time for family meals. To make sure everyone eats together, it's best if you set an example by sitting at the table with your child during each mealtime. The more you practice eating as a family, the better your kids will do.
Serve the food in a fun and colorful way
When you see your child's eyes light up when they catch sight of a brightly colored dish, it makes the whole mealtime experience that much more fun. Be creative and use items like blueberries in yogurt or cheese to create smiley faces on their plates.
The idea is to give them something to look forward to rather than dreading whatever they'll find in front of them. Use food to encourage the behavior you want, not get rid of bad eating habits.
Combine familiar and new foods
If your child is resistant to trying new foods, use the old play-it-safe strategy. Serve small portions of familiar items like macaroni and cheese mixed with green peas or add a few sprinkles of Parmesan cheese on top of their rice.
Add in something healthy whenever you can. That way, you'll have an easier time winning your child over in the future when you introduce new items.
Offer up rewards for good behavior
Kids are more likely to do what they're asked if there's something in it for them. So if they eat everything on their plates or wind up finishing their vegetables, give them a little extra incentive.
These incentives don't have to be anything major - a sticker or an extra 15 minutes of TV time or video game time - but it's another way to encourage them to continue doing what you want long term.
It can take some time and creativity, but eventually, your strategy will work and you'll get the entire family eating healthfully at mealtime.
The most important tip is to be patient with your child. Take small steps in the process, and be sure to have fun while you're at it. No one can make it in a day or two because it's a time-consuming process.
That's why it's easier to make these changes a part of your daily routine and stick with them for the long haul. With a little bit of patience and effort, you'll be able to teach your child the importance of sitting still during mealtime.
Why kids should sit still during mealtime?
There are a few reasons why it's important for kids to sit still during mealtimes. First, sitting still allows them to focus on their food and eat more slowly, which helps them to better taste and digest their food.
Second, sitting still helps them to learn good manners and how to properly behave at the dinner table. And finally, sitting still gives their digestive system a break so that they can better absorb the nutrients from their food.
Mealtime can be a challenge for both parents and kids. It's important to have patience and use strategies that will work in the long term. The tips we've provided should help make mealtimes more enjoyable for everyone involved. Be sure to try out a few of these ideas and see which ones work best for your family.
Charlie Svensson is a creative and engaging freelance writer who works for the essay service agency. Apart from writing great essay reviews, he is skilled in lifestyle topics, education, social media, and self-growth. When he’s not working, you can probably see Charlie swimming or riding a bike.