Making Mealtime Fun and Engaging
3 min read
When you and your little one first embark upon the weaning journey, it can be exciting; there is a whole new world of flavours and textures to explore! Your baby will experience food with all of their senses so it is important to make mealtimes fun and engaging.
Meals should offer a rounded experience; adults wouldn’t rate their enjoyment of a meal purely on the food and neither should babies. The company, ambience and overall mealtime experience are also important for your little one.
At Babease, we are here to offer a helping hand when it comes to all things weaning. We know every little one is different and will move at their own pace and develop their own routines.
Here, we offer a place to start when it comes to making mealtimes fun and engaging.
The Benefits of Enjoyable Mealtimes
Turning mealtimes into interactive activities can be helpful when aiming to engage especially picky eaters and those in the initial stages of the weaning journey.
If babies struggle when trying new foods, changing the attitude to mealtimes and creating more interactive and playful environments can help to persuade them to be more excited about new food.
Encouraging curiosity and introducing new tastes in fun ways can help set up your little one with a healthy relationship with food.
Food is a social activity, and for many families, the dining table becomes the central hub. Creating an enjoyable atmosphere can help strengthen social bonds with your little one.
The positive ambience of family meals can be beneficial; mealtimes are not solely about the food and you should aim to create an all-encompassing meal experience to strengthen your baby’s relationship to food.
This is why it is important to make the most out of mealtimes by creating an enjoyable moment with your child. Making mealtimes engaging does not necessarily mean putting on a show every time your little one has something to eat. There are plenty of small things you could start incorporating into your routine to help make eating engaging, interactive and a rounded experience.
Make Some Mess
The old adage ‘don’t play with your food’ doesn’t apply here as playing with new and exciting foods can be beneficial for your little one. You could encourage your baby to get stuck in and play with the different textures, colours and flavours.
Supporting them with smearing, mashing and mushing the food with their hands is an excellent method of helping them explore what they’re putting in their mouth. Feeling the food is an important part of the meal experience.
You don’t necessarily have to worry too much about wiping up as you go along; little ones will feel empowered by the control they have over the food!
Make a Rainbow
Combining vivid colours can be a simple way to liven up your little one’s plate. Exciting their sense of sight can help make experiences with food more intriguing. If they are enjoying the bursts of colour, it will translate into their enjoyment of the food.
Dishes full of bright, fun colours are more attractive and more likely to pique your baby’s interest over a colourless bowl of porridge. Using a rainbow of colours on different days of the week can take their taste buds on a journey and expose them to an even wider variety of food, all while having fun!
Introduce Different Shapes
Cutting foods into unusual shapes, like animals or faces, can be a great way to add some fun and interest to an otherwise regular mealtime. Making chunks of food more interesting can prevent your baby from becoming bored or restless.
There is a lot of opportunity for creativity and fun when it comes to this tip.You could use cookie cutters to introduce new shapes or just go free-hand. Even simple shapes like triangles can become something new and fun.
You’ll know the best ways to make your baby laugh; you could break out the silly voices and songs at mealtime to get them having fun right off the bat. Making the food ‘talk’ can also get your little one interacting with it on another level.
If other senses like hearing are engaged, the overall mealtime ambience is more likely to be playful and enjoyable. Taste should not be the only sense you consider when aiming to create a fun mealtime environment!
By combining different ways to get all of your baby’s senses involved, you create an experience rather than just a moment to eat food!
How do you and your child approach mealtimes? Why not get involved with our community and let us know on our social media channels?
For more tips and tricks on how to get little taste buds tingling, head over to our weaning advice section!