Children often have a hard time sitting still long enough to complete an entire meal, and they’re definitely not willing to eat whatever their parents choose to serve them just because it’s the right time of day. When mealtime becomes the most stressful part of your day, you need some fresh and fun ideas on how to make mealtime fun for your little ones, so that everyone enjoys family dinner time. Here are seven creative ways to make mealtime fun for your little ones.
1) Silly faces
Making a silly face during mealtime is one way to help your kids eat their food. This isn’t a joke—it has been proven that making a funny face when eating certain foods can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re eating something less tasty than you are. So, take some time every day before mealtime and practice making faces with your kids!
2) Play with Playdough
Get your little ones involved in meal prep. Simply take some playdough, roll it into a snake, and cut it into several pieces with a pair of scissors. Ask your child to make their own playdough snake using their pieces while you continue preparing food. You can even add numbers or letters to each piece if you have enough playdough!
3) Play restaurant
What child doesn’t love playing restaurant? Try playing a fun game of restaurant with your children. Start by laying out some placemats and setting out some utensils, napkins, and small plates. While you’re at it, also set out a tip jar. Then, let them serve their favourite foods as they play restaurant. As they go along, ask them about their creations—did you make a chicken plate or steak and potatoes?
4) Let them help you cook
There’s something inherently satisfying about being able to help in the kitchen—kids love it, too. Encourage your child’s budding interest in cooking by handing over some simple tasks, like chopping vegetables or stirring a sauce. It will have added benefits, too: kids who are involved in food preparation are more likely to be adventurous eaters and less likely to develop unhealthy eating habits later on.
5) Turn on some music
One way to make mealtime fun is by turning on some music. You don’t have to play it on your phone or anything—just let your kids help you sing along. They might not be able to tell you which song it is, but they’ll learn a few lyrics here and there. It also creates a more lively atmosphere around mealtime, which can encourage kids (and maybe even some adults) to eat more of whatever it is they’re eating.
6) Let them draw on their plate
When you’re having trouble getting your kids to try a new food, let them create a picture on their plate. This will give them something fun and creative to focus on instead of being overly anxious about whether or not they’ll like it. Plus, everyone likes eating a pretty plate! If they don’t eat all of it, save it in their lunch box—the next day they might be more willing to try what they made.
7) Start a conversation about what’s on their plate
Mealtime is a great opportunity to ask your child questions about their food. What does it look like? Does it taste good? It’s important that kids learn to enjoy new foods, but make