To help parents this Christmas, Munchy Play® has launched its top tips for creating happy mealtimes using proven strategies. While Christmas dinner is one of the biggest events in the festive calendar, tens of thousands of parents will struggle with ‘fussy eating’ behaviour.
Yesterday, celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo suggested that children that refuse to eat meals, should be sent to bed without food. However, these tips provide an alternative approach, that is both positive and encouraging for your child.
Sophia Procter, founder of Munchy Play, said:
“Christmas dinner is so much more than just about food – it’s about the whole social occasion and sensory experience, which is why introducing fun and play is a smarter approach. If there was ever a day of the year parent’s deserve a break it’s Christmas – so we’ve put these key tips together to help enjoy a stress-free occasion.”
Here are the seven top tips:
Involve your child
Picky eating often coincides with toddlers finding their independence. Help your child to feel in control, by involving them in the preparation and process. For instance, get them to pick out the vegetables, to lay the table, or choose the Christmas crackers. Giving them some autonomy, choice and involvement can help get them on board.
Make it fun
The best way to bring kids to the table and keep them there, is to make mealtimes fun. Munchy Play kids’ plates feature a built-in track for cars and trains – the perfect choice for a stress-free family Christmas dinner. 93% of parents say it has improved dining with their toddler.
Get creative with food art
Food art always brings smiles (and children) to the table. There’s plenty of festive themes you can adopt – such as making faces with Brussels Sprouts and pigs in blankets, or a Christmas tree made from kiwi fruit. For inspiration, check out #FoodArt on Instagram.
Lead by example
Families that dine together, tend to have better eating habits, such as consuming more vegetables. But if you aren’t willing to eat sprouts yourself, then don’t expect your child to either! Rather than serving up food they don’t want, ask your child which parts of the meal they want on their plate, or better still – get them to serve themselves.
Big on taste, not size
Little kids especially like finger foods and using their hands to eat with. Let them experiment with lots of different tastes and textures. Rather than overwhelm their plate with a big portion, give them little bits of everything to try.
Let them be excused
With so many exciting new toys to play with, Christmas Dinner is one day when children can be excused from the table early once they’ve eaten enough. Children’s attention spans at mealtimes may only be 15-20 minutes long, and this is one day we can all relax a bit more.
Stock up on snacks
And finally, Christmas is a fun time, especially for foodies, with lots of treats and chocolates to indulge in. Make sure you also have a range of healthy snacks available for kids too, such as yoghurts and fruit.