Those last minutes of mealtime prep can be stressful enough without your toddlers morphing into tiny, hungry monsters. So what’s a mama (or daddy!) to do? Here’s five of our favorite toddler-approved tips for preventing those pre-meal meltdowns. We hope they help make mealtime in your home a little less frantic and a lot more fun!
1. Buy time by buckling them in: Once our toddlers smell that supper’s on the way, we’ve already reached the point of no return. Being buckled into their highchair sends the message that food is on the way and keeps panic at bay for a little bit longer!
2. Just say YES to toys at the table: Obviously hungry bellies don’t last long undistracted, so start a small stash of special “table toys” that only come out once the kids are buckled in. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!! A recent big hit for us was a pair of cheap goggles as pictured with my son. (This is also a perfect time pull out those noisy toys the grandparents insist on giving them!)
3. Footloose and fancy-free: Kids love to see the silly sides of Mom and Dad, so if supper keeps you tied to the stove, turn your spatula into a microphone and put on a pre-dinner show. Throw in a few dance moves for the added bonus of burning calories before you eat them!
4. Supper with a side of school: Since the kids have food on the brain, find a few board books about mealtime. Have your older ones help the little ones learn the names of food pictured in the book or read it to them. Plus if they get too hungry they can just chew on the corners while they wait. Who knows, maybe the cardboard appetizer will help make those green things you keep putting on their plate a little more appealing!!
5. When all else fails: Try a “real” appetizer and offer something simple like two or three pieces of plain Chex cereal. You can repeat it a few times as needed and still not spoil their supper.
HOW DO YOU KEEP THE HUNGRY MONSTERS AT BAY IN YOUR HOUSE?!
Fellow blogger and friend (stultsmamaof4) suggests making snack-time an afternoon priority. That way when the smells of supper start wafting through the house, their little bellies aren’t quite as demanding!
With three toddlers we’re always looking for fresh ideas! Pass on your favorite tips and tricks by posting a quick comment below!