Dinner Time Routine
When making mealtimes more enjoyable, it is important to look at your child's evening routine as well as the food you are serving. Follow Mummy Cooks' steps, starting with the evening routine, to start making mealtimes more enjoyable for you and your kids!
"Routine is good for children so try and have a set time for dinner and sit down together as a family."
Just like a sleep routine, it is also very important to have a mealtime routine for your child. We all know the results of low blood sugar in children so it’s important to leave no more than a 3-hour gap between snacks and meals
Mummy Cooks Evening Routine
- Turn off the TV and stop activity – When a child is immersed in watching their favourite TV programme and they are pulled away to eat dinner, a common reaction is to say ‘yuck I don’t like this dinner'. To avoid tantrums or food refusal, aim to have a gap of at least 20 minutes between switching off the tv or stopping activities and serving dinner.
- Wash our hands – this is a good routine to get your children into and it breaks up the time between activity and dinner. It will also teach them about basic hygiene. Remember to lead by example; a simple 'let's all wash our hands' will get your child used to the idea that everybody has to follow this simple step before eating.
- Help set the table – let your child get involved from an early age. Something small such as counting everyone coming to the meal and giving them a placemat is a great way to give them the sense of helping out and being involved. Older children can fill up glasses or even help during preparation by peeling or washing some vegetables.
- Eating together – Sitting down as family is a great way to teach your child about food. If you have to feed your child, make sure to eat your own meal first and then help your child. It’s important that we don’t stop enjoying mealtimes. For your weaning baby, offer them some finger foods so everybody can enjoy the meal together and at the same time.
- Place the dishes in the sink – getting your child to help with the clean up from an early age will ensure they understand that everyone helps out. Clean up is not just for adults! Younger children can place their plastic cups and bowls in the sink, while the older kids can go so far as putting them in the dishwasher.
- Bath time – having a warm bath can help a child relax before going down to sleep. This will also make them less likely to throw a tantrum before bed which is common if they haven't had time to wind down before suddenly being told it is time to go to sleep.
- Pyjamas on – Having a set routine will make bedtime easier for you and your child. Why not warm them up on the radiator and your child will love getting into their PJ’s!
- Brush your teeth – Proper dental care begins before a baby's first tooth appears. Just because you can't see the teeth doesn't mean they aren't there. It is also good to get your child into the routine of brushing their teeth before bedtime from an early age.
- Story Time – Not only is reading a great bonding experience for parent and child, it also helps them develop language and listening skills, preparing them to understand the written word. This will relax your child before they drift off too, so try not to get caught up and skip this crucial time after a busy day.
Sleep Time – this means Mummy and Daddy time. When the kids are finally asleep, put your feet up and enjoy a cup of tea!Follow our Step 2, Step 3, Step 4 & Step 5 in Making Mealtimes more Enjoyable.