We’ve all had some experience with little ones before. As far as I know, we were all one at some point, or have had one or a few of our own to handle. Whatever our experiences may be, at some point in time, we either were the messy eaters, or have had time cleaning up after messy eaters.
Well, a lot of advice has gone around, and as always, you have those sources that are “on point”, and yet there are those that pop up who seem just to “not get it”. I mean, it seems like they’re giving advice that caters to children that come from another planet or something!
So, what we want to do is give you some tips and advice to help with messy meal time with your kids.
So here goes…
Plan For The Worst
Fact is, most times it’s best for you not to have overly idealistic expectations when you approach anything, and this principle really shouldn’t change when it comes on to dealing with our kids. At the end of the day, if you plan and prepare for the worst possible outcome (though, of course we can’t predict them all), then when the worst actually does happen, you’ll not only “pat yourself on the back” for having thought it through and avoided a worse outcome, but you’ll literally feel less stressed and upset. You’ll actually feel relieved that you had foreseen what happened, or at least something close to it.
For example, it’s probably best if we just admit that all baby’s “spit up” and “dribble” at some point. It may be an accident, or it may very well be that they’re having a rough day, or might not even like the particular dish that you’ve concocted for them that day, and they’re likely to show you, if you know what I mean.
So, the best thing you could do for that particular situation, is to arm your baby with the best baby bibs you can find, I especially like baby bibs with snaps so they can’t easily pull them off. . One that not only has super absorption skills, but one that is also wide, so that it can catch all those spills, and is also easy to put on to your baby. There are a lot around, and it’s wise to actually do a little research, or ask another parent you know, who has been using a reliable kind. You should also try to get a good stain remover!
Shorten That Mealtime
Hey, I know you really look forward to that one-on-one time with your little kiddo, but sometimes it’s just the right thing for you to shorten the time that the both of you actually spend feeding and eating respectively. You can do this by reducing your kid’s portions to only what he or she can manage, giving him or her medium-sized portions, and maybe keeping some on the ready in a handy container, so that if he or she needs a bit more, you can always feed them with the reserves.
Shortening mealtime will not only cut your and your baby’s stress levels in half or more, but it will train your child into eating with more discipline. Make sure that he or she is actually hungry, so that there won’t be any frustration in trying to get them to eat! And also, make sure that they’re properly seated in that high chair. This will make sure that food and drink spills will be far less likely.
When your kid realizes that mealtime won’t be a time for him or her to just start throwing things and playing with whatever you’ve given him or her to eat, without actually eating it, then he’ll “straighten up” his eating style, and realize that you’re only gonna feed him when he’s hungry, and that it’s not just “another kind of playtime”.
Use Special Mealtime Tools
Now, don’t get into the trapped thinking pattern that says you should stick to whatever your parents or their parents, or your friends do with regard to feeding and overall parenting practices. If you, for yourself, don’t think that a particular, traditional method doesn’t work for you in getting your kid to eat without making a mess, then it’s about time you did the proper research, and found better and more effective solutions that neither frustrate you nor your baby!
Now, I personally think that the right baby bibs with snaps are the perfect and probably most effective solution to dealing with your enthusiastic baby’s eating style.
Along with your baby bibs with snaps, there are a host of many other solutions that can really elevate the standard of feeding your baby! Have you ever thought of using section plates that have suction cups at the base of them? These make for a hassle-free mealtime, as the cups won’t be knocked off the table and also, it makes this “eating thing” much easier and really interesting for your little one.
Serve Less Messy Food
I know I know, you’re a spaghetti and meatballs fan, so you want your kids to be as well, right? Lol, well even if that’s not your excuse, sometimes we just need to lay off of the food that’s downright messy and hard for your kid to eat and manage!
Try foods that are compact, like oatmeal and applesauce. Finger foods are also a great solution, ‘cus you’ve already eliminated the trouble of them trying to work with a mature knife and fork, or even a spoon! If it’s naturally meant to be eaten with the fingers, it’s likely to be easier for your kid to pick up and put in their mouths, rather than them turning everything that’s “stainy” and meant to be eaten with “grown-up cutlery”, into their own versions of “finger food”. You can even put easy-to-handle fruits, like grapes and apple slices, into small suction-cup bowls, which are not only easy and cool for your baby to pick up and eat, but are also healthy! How about even some baby carrots or cucumber slices?! Just make it simple, and make it agreeable to your kid.
Keep Your Cool
Probably the most important thing that you can do in improving your baby’s eating habits, is to actually model for them exactly how you would want them to react and behave. Instead of getting all frustrated when they throw a fit or a fuss, and maybe throw a food item or two, or start crying because they didn’t get what they wanted to eat, the best response you can have is one of cool, calm collectedness.
What you should do is say to them calmly, something like this, “No Megan, we don’t throw our food”, or “Would you like some more?” or maybe even say when they start an emotional tantrum, “We don’t cry when we want to have our own way”. Whatever calm response you come up with, make sure it’s said with an intent to educate and encourage your child to respond in the right way.
Getting mad at them when they’re already upset is just going to make matters worse. Keep your cool, and stay in charge, and you will be surprised at the marvelous results you create!