Proper nutrition is essential to the proper growth and development of your children. That’s why teaching them healthy and independent eating habits are essential skills they need to learn as they grow. However, we know that kids can be picky eaters, and it’s not easy to get them acquainted with different foods.
In this blog post, we will share some tips to help make mealtime healthier and more independent for younger babies. Take note of these tips and practices to guide your kids into a world of new flavors.
4 Ways to Teach Kids How to Self-Feed
It’s a big milestone when your baby learns to feed themselves. Not only do they show interest in eating, but it is also a good sign of learning independence. So when do babies start to feed themselves with a spoon?
As early as nine months, you can teach your kids how to spoon-feed. Here are some easy tips on teaching your kids how to eat independently.
Create a Favorable Eating Environment
One reason why kids are intimidated by eating on their own is that their environment feels overwhelming. Don’t give them big plates and adult-sized regular spoons yet. It’s too big for their little mouths and hands. They will find it difficult to maneuver the tools or carry them.
It goes the same with food serving. Don’t just put a mountain of food on their plate. It can easily startle them. Make their food as child friendly and as fun as possible.
For example, if you are serving them fruits like apples or strawberries, cut them up in fun shapes like stars or hearts that your kids will love. The fun shape will encourage your kids to eat their food. Furthermore, playing nursery rhymes will keep your kids in a positive mood.
Look for Signs That Your Kids Are Hungry
The best way to encourage kids to self-feed is when they are hungry. When their body feels famished, they will find a way to find food. So take advantage of the situation. Some kids will directly ask for food, but others may cry to get your attention.
When it happens, allow them to choose their food. This will give them the impression that they have control over what they eat and can choose what they want. Giving them food options will encourage them to eat independently.
Practice Eating With Your Child
Children think highly of their parents, so they try to mimic anything they do. Demonstrate the process of eating with your kids. Show them how to pick up a spoon and put food in their mouth. Be patient with your kid’s actions, especially when it’s their first time using utensils.
Don’t show signs of annoyance when they make a mess or can’t do it in one try. Your kids can get scared and discouraged easily. Instead, continue showing them and encouraging them even if they progress slowly. Make it a habit to practice with your kids until they are confident enough to do things on their own.
Furthermore, giving your kids rewards when they do something properly will encourage them to improve their eating skills. Remember, being positive with your kids will help them learn faster.
Use Baby-Friendly Products
There are so many baby-feeding spoons and other utensils available for your kids. Get a set and let them use it to learn how to self-feed. Silicone spoons are best for your kids. Since babies have sensitive gums, metal spoons can irritate them. Baby utensils are perfect for your baby’s mouth.
Make their first experience of eating by themselves an easy and fun one. Don’t create a routine that’s straining for your kids. They may not like the experience and won’t do it again.
5 Tips to Teach Your Kids to Eat Healthily
Once your kids learn to self-feed, it’s also important to teach them to eat healthily. Normally, kids only want desserts and sweet food, but starting them young with different flavors and food choices will help them develop healthy eating.
Here are some tips to start your kids eating healthy food.
Make Eating Healthy Food a Family Routine
If you want to make your kids eat healthily, ensure that you incorporate healthy food into your every meal. Don’t present healthy food as something occasional.
It will also help if your kids see you eat them. For example, you can’t force your kids to eat vegetables if they don’t see you eating them. Be a model for healthy eating, and they will be encouraged to follow your actions.
Prepare Delicious Healthy Food
Kids see healthy food as greens and yucky food. That’s why they stay away from it. However, there are tons of recipes that incorporate healthy ingredients that ooze with flavors kids will love.
In addition, vegetables are not limited to the green leafy kind. Vegetables like potatoes, beets, and string vegetables are easier to work with and introduce to your kids.
Also, don’t cut out fruits. Even raw berries have a ton of nutritional value. If you want to make your kids eat fruits, you can make them into smoothies or freshly squeezed juices. The key to making them eat healthily is transforming the food into something fun and delicious.
Don’t Gatekeep the Food They Want
Instead of restricting your kids from items, teach them how to control their food intake. For example, your kids love sweets like chocolates and ice creams. You can still give them their favorite food but teach them to slow down their consumption. Tell them what it does to our body when you consume too many sweets.
Furthermore, you can make alternatives. For example, your kids love fast food french fries. You can make homemade sweet potato fries instead. It is a healthier version, and you can even involve your kids in the cooking process.
Give Them Access to Healthy Food
You can condition your kids to eat healthy foods by giving them access. Kids will eat the things they see around the house. So if they see you have stocks of junk food they can easily get, they will probably munch on them endlessly.
Stock your pantry with healthy food. Even snacks have healthier versions. For example, instead of buying traditional potato chips, there are available options of vegetable crisps for healthy snacking. Also, instead of ice cream, yogurt is a better alternative. Your kids can snack on them guilt-free.
Don’t Force Them With Food They Don’t Like
Everything takes time when introducing new things to your kids. For example, you can’t expect your kids to munch on Brussels sprouts the first time you serve them. Kids are naturally picky eaters, so instead of forcing them to eat their greens, allow them to choose.
Giving them choices raises their curiosity, and they will be more eager to try the food, especially if they choose the food themselves.
Check Out Ashtonbee’s Baby Spoons
You need the proper tools when teaching your kids the right eating habits. Several baby products can accompany your growing kids, and one gadget you should have is an infant spoon. It’s a great way to introduce solid foods while ensuring the product is safe to use.
Ashtonbee offers the best budget-friendly baby spoon set you can find on the market. Let’s look at these infant spoons‘ features and see why they’re the best baby spoon you can get for your kids.
- The baby spoons have a rounded tip to ensure comfort in your baby’s mouth and sensitive gums.
- The feeding spoon is made from soft material that is BPA free and guaranteed non-toxic.
- The baby spoon is lightweight and fits perfectly in your baby’s hands, so they can enjoy learning self-feeding more.
- The infant spoon can double-duty as a teething toy for your baby’s sore gums.
- Each baby spoon set comes in five colorful pieces that cost $14.99.
- Ashtonbee’s baby spoons are dishwasher-safe and travel-friendly, so you can bring one wherever you go.
Sharing a meal while watching your kids eat is indeed a joyous moment for parents. However, getting involved in their meal time to teach them to be more independent and mindful of their food choice is also the parent’s duty. We hope this blog post helps you navigate mealtime with your little picky eater.
Also, don’t forget to get the right spoon for your little ones at Ashtonbee. We also have a collection of other feeding gadgets and baby essentials like pillows, baby knee pads, and safety accessories. So don’t forget to browse our shop today!