Meal Time with Toddlers
Time and time again I’ve heard how important it is to sit down and eat as a family… how it’s the perfect time to connect with your kids. I do see the truth in that, but for our family sitting down together is near impossible. We are trying our best to work on this though!
I have one child, Ryan, who isn't so interested in food and would rather play and be fed as he's doing his thing... he will only come to me and ask for food if he is starving which is rare since I'm constantly chasing him around with food and snacks.
Little Leo, on the other hand, is an eater... and it was apparent from early on in the way that he nursed differently than Ryan as a baby. Ryan cluster fed and never stayed on the boob for too long, while Leo would tap out while feeding because he was nursing for so long. Leo will eat almost anything and isn't picky at all, and Ryan will divide his food and remove onions, tomatoes, and anything else he doesn't favor.
Why am I sharing all of this? Because... it's what makes it hard for us to sit and eat together as a family for every meal, although that is the goal. I always want to make sure the boys get their food in before I even think about feeding myself... I know, I need to change that and we are working on it.
At this stage I think our family’s quality time is easier spent elsewhere… playing outside, day trips, and reading at bedtime. I think as the boys get older and spend more time away from each other, Art and I, and our home then making sure everyone sits down to have dinner will be easier and serve a greater purpose. First step is getting the boys to want to sit still through a meal!
I have to admit though, the boys are super interested in what Art and I are eating, so it might do us good to just sit down at the table and start eating and see what happens. How I think that might play out? Leo will make a big mess but eat whatever we put in front of him, and Ryan will take off and find a game to get into or toy to play with. But then, it's been a struggle getting Leo into his high chair recently, he's just over it and would rather climb the table when he's in a regular chair... so it's fun, you know. Meal time is the most fun ever!
For now the boys know that I’m there for them when they need me… and I know I can enjoy the crazy moments we have together before they get bigger and all of this is just a memory. Yes, I'll even miss the crazy stressful meal times... They'll start feeding themselves proper someday, right?
I got the boys a simple table from Land of Nod (now Crate & Kids what?!) a while back but never really put it to use since Leo wasn't ready for it yet and Ryan didn't enjoy sitting alone to eat and play. I like the simple, clean design and that it doubles as a play table. I've recently brought it out again and the boys seem to be enjoying each other's company!
For those mamas who have succeeded in getting their families to eat together… leave your best tips for meal time in the comments below.