One of the biggest pieces of advice for improving fussy eating is to eat together as a family. So, how can you make eating together as a family more achievable, enjoyable and efficient? Here are some tips to help get you started.
- Habits and routines. Everything is easier when it’s done as a matter of routine, but it can be hard to get these routines in place, so pick one new routine each week and stick to making it happen each day of the week, but don’t add another new routine until the following routine is well established.
- Lay the table really nicely. The way we lay the table gives the recipient an indication of how important the occasion and their company is, so laying the table nicely for the children each evening gives them a sense of importance and elevates the meal as a special occasion. You can create a routine of getting them to help – we have all the children’s plates, cups and bowls in a cupboard low down so that they can access these things independently.
- All adults sit down to eat. Lay a place at the table for everyone as standard and get stuck in – even when grandparents come to stay, aunties, uncles, friends etc. If you don’t want to eat the bulk of your main meal at this stage that’s fine, you can just take little bits, but the children will look to you as a role model, so if you act like you’re really into your food, your children will be eventually too and this is a really powerful tool for addressing and improving fussy eating.
- Include everyone. If your partner or other adults you live with have a schedule that isn’t compatible with when the children need to eat, get one of the children to make them up a plate and pop it in the fridge, and if the children are still awake when your partner is home, let them sit together whilst they eat, maybe whilst having a piece of fruit or yoghurt. This may take time to create a calm routine, but will definitely generate positive vibes throughout the family.
- Make mealtimes fun and engaging. Find engaging ways to encourage meaningful conversation or fun and playful conversational games as you sit and eat. This will not only help them develop enhanced speech and language skills, but will create really positive associations with your family mealtimes. I have a free list of conversation starters available to download here.
That’s it for today, I hope you found these tips helpful as a start. Please let me know how you’re getting on with your family mealtimes – I absolutely love seeing how you feed your brood 🙂
If you’re interested in my Online Fussy Eating course, ReThink Fussy Eating, sign up to my mailing list here to find out when the next course is scheduled to start.