We all know that nutrition is of key importance to our children’s health at all stages of life, but there are several other vital things that happen at meals. From the transferring of cultural values to the development of social skills such as sharing, meals are the ideal time to support your child’s interest in doing things on their own, while building confidence at the same time.
We made a few simple choices to let our daughter know that she is trusted and respected. She eats in the manner which we eat. We have decided not to use plates with suction cups, cartoonish themes, or ones made of plastic.
Children will learn to use a plate, cup, and utensils at some point, so why not from the start? You also save a few bucks by not not spending on child-themed plates and cutlery that will only be useful a few years.
Breakfast is served!
Choose a large plate that is wide enough for your child to reach with either hand. We regularly use glass dinner plates, but porcelain ones are also heavy enough to stay put as our daughter reaches for her first foods (DISCLAIMER: Any and all breakables should be used with caution and under adult supervision). At six months, our daughter was far more curious about the foods on her plate than the plate itself.
No cartoon or child-themed dishware here. Entertaining cups and plates suggest that children need to be enticed to eat their meals. Flavor, color, and texture of fresh foods combined with the natural curiosity of an infant are all the excitement needed to make for a fun meal!
As any other child would do, Greysen reached for her dinnerware when I was feeding her pureed foods from a bowl. With my guidance and frequent reminders to leave the bowl close to her so that she could reach her food, she soon learned to not only eat from the bowl without playing with it, but also how to hold on to the bowl so that she could scoop food with the other hand.
Encouraging our children to develop important self-help skills, such as feeding themselves, is a simple everyday way in which we can help our children build confidence in being able to do things for themselves.