Eating as a Family
One of the challenges I am asked about the most (sleep aside!) is fussy eating. Fussy eating is at an all-time high, with ever increasing numbers of children only eating a handful of limited foods, and it is, understandably, something which parents really worry about.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help! Fussy eating is a key part of our Weaning Workshop, as experience has shown us that there are key behaviours and patterns that you can put in place from the very start of a child’s eating life which help to set them up with a healthy and positive approach to food. One of those which I have found to be particularly important is social eating, by which I mean eating around a table together as a family.
Social eating is important in lots of ways. It provides precious time together as a family, a chance to connect and communicate. It is also the best way for you to role model positive behaviour around food, allowing your children to see you enjoying food, a variety of food, and healthy food. Children learn from what they see, so showing them this makes it far more likely that they will do the same thing.
I have seen this first-hand in families I have helped. Recently, a family with two young children aged 2 and 3 sought my help, as the children would only eat beige food: breaded chicken, fish fingers, pasta and so on, and Mum was unhappy about this and wanted to expand their range of foods. After our in-depth consultation, Mum revealed she had never actually sat down at the table and eaten a meal with them, and would often just snack on biscuits at their dinner time. We changed this, Mum started to eat with the children, and it made a huge difference to their eating and to the variety of foods they would try.
However, I know eating together isn’t always easy. Lots of families have two working parents, many of us work long hours, and the use of screens can get in the way of families all sitting down together. I always recommend to clients that screens and toys are not used at the table and instead, you try and sit down and engage with each other where possible. Talking about your day, or your plans for the weekend and this still applies even if your little one is too small to talk back to you!
When we sat down together at weekends to eat, even with a small baby in tow we were all still able to enjoy that special time together, thanks to the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair. It’s an investment, but it’s worth it! With the newborn attachment even tiny ones can join you at the dinner table – we used this with Felix and he loved being part of mealtimes and watching us eat together. Then, when you are ready for weaning, you convert it into a high chair with the baby set. The Tripp Trapp fits right up to your table, without a tray separating baby from the rest of the family, which means it saves space too. Further down the line, you can remove the baby set and use the chair for toddlers and beyond – there are several height adjustments and I have friends whose teenagers still use it!
Eating together can be one of the best parts of family life. I really recommend trying to eat with your little ones when you can, and you might just see an improvement in their eating too – a massive bonus for you all!
Stokke Tripp Trapp was #gifted to us, we recommend them in our Weaning classes and believe they are brilliant.