Toddler mealtimes can be colourful to say the least! As your little one discovers new flavours and foods, there are likely to be plenty of giggles along the way.
What are the toddler mealtime essentials?
First up, suction bowls and plates are a must have to prevent your carefully prepared meal hitting the floor… or even the wall! Suction plates will help dinner stay put and are great for preventing particularly energetic toddlers from creating dinnertime chaos.
A sippy cup like the Munchkin Miracle 360 Trainer Cup is perfect for teaching your little one to drink for themselves. Sippy and trainer cups come with either silicone or plastic spouts, and some have anti-colic features. When you’re on the go, a juice box with handles can minimise sticky fingers too.
If you feel your toddler is big enough, it’s time to move them from a highchair to a booster chair or harness. Modern boosters seats are compact and often feature storage space to stow away your mealtime essentials. A basic booster seat is relatively inexpensive, plus they offer a safe and secure way to let your little one sit at the dining room table on a normal chair. Some booster seats, like this one from Babymoov, can be folded up to save space when not in use. You can also get travel booster seats for trips to restaurants or for using on holiday.
An alternative to a booster seat is a harness which attaches to the chair. Harnesses are machine washable, easy to transport and an ideal option for toddlers who can sit unsupported.
What about toddler mealtime safety?
As well as the usual food hygiene precautions, like making sure meals are properly cooked etc. there are a few extra safety measures to bear in mind when you have an adventurous toddler on your hands.
Toddlers are still learning to chew and choking remains a risk. Meals should be cut up into bite-sized pieces and under the age of 2 you should avoid round food like grapes and nuts. Encouraging your child to remain calm and seated at meal times can also reduce any choking risk.
The harness on their highchair or booster seat should always be properly fastened, and you should never leave your toddler alone when eating.
Anything else I should know about toddler mealtimes?
Your little one is at a stage where they are watching and learning from those around them. If you enjoy trying new foods and eating a variety of things, they will learn this is safe and normal. Also remember that fussy eating is a totally normal stage in your child’s development, and with time it will pass.
Treat mealtimes as calm, interesting and positive times and soon your little one will learn to love them.