Making children eat the food you have prepared can be rather tricky – especially when you also want to keep them in a good mood throughout the meal. However, there are a few tips that may help. In fact, if you teach your children to associate food with joy, a lot is already won.
Sometimes, our everyday life tends to go faster than we wish it would. During these times, it is important to sit down around the dinner table to conversate and eat with your loved ones. Invite your children to the creative process of preparing good food, and show them that it is so much more than just nutrition – it is energy, medicine, and joy. By exploring flavors together, you also create memories that last a lifetime. So, take the time to explain and explore food together with your young ones, and set a good example for their future. In this article, we give you our advice on how to succeed with little effort – and a lot of love. Read our three tips below!
How many times have you heard, or used, the phrase ‘Don’t play with your food’? Probably more times than you think. At PotteryJo, we rather recommend the opposite. Play more with your food! For example, you can create themed-inspired dinner dates to enjoy together with your children. Why not cook food inspired from their favorite movie, or maybe just listen to the soundtrack they love? The possibilities are endless – only the fantasy puts an end to it. Because remember, if playing with the food results in a happy association with mealtime, it is not a bad thing.
Most children love to help with chores. It makes them feel needed and gives them a feeling of being grown-up. Even if it may take longer to prepare a meal with a mini-chef in the kitchen, it can help their attitude towards food in general. Therefore: cook together with your children! Avoid sharp objects such as knives or peelers, and give them a chore they can handle on their own.
Another tip is to go to the grocery store together – and let your children pick and choose among the foods. To eliminate the amount of choices, and to save some valuable time, you can show two variants of the same product and let the child choose one. Later, at dinner, the child may recall that they picked that yellow pepper: and be more likely to eat it.
Children respond positively to bright colors since their eyesight is still developing. In other words, bright colors help children discern objects from another. With this in mind, it is not a bad idea to set the table with tableware and decorations that creates a colorful contrast to the food you are serving. Here are some examples of how to think:
Serving pancakes with red berries or jam? Use a green or yellow platter to create a happy contrast to the topping. If you have the time and energy, you can also fry the pancakes in gingerbread molds so that they all have different shapes.
Serving stew? This may be harder to create a contrasty look with, considering stew often is a mixture of many different colors. Therefore, it is a good idea to play with decorations instead. Serve the food in something usually not made for dinner, like a cup or a mug. Add a flannel cloth to the table and voilá: suddenly you have a dinner picnic!
Serving some sort of pasta? Put some Italian music on and turn the kitchen into a wannabe-restaurant. If your child has seen Lady and the Tramp, why not let them eat with their hands only? Let them explore! It may be messy, but at least it will be fun.
Psst! If you like the idea of turning your kitchen into a restaurant, you can also ask your child to pay for the meal when they are done. The payment can consist of a hug, a “Thank you”, or a drawing. This helps them practice expressing gratitude in a playful way.