Reducing mess at toddler’s mealtimes

Mealtimes are an important part of the day for a toddler and can be enjoyable for a parent to see. However, they can also be a messy time. Your toddler has not fully developed the skills and coordination to fully control their eating and they also often see food as a play thing. The result is food all over their faces, the table and the floor. On a bad day, you might also find a generous portion of the food on yourself! It is possible to minimize the mess that your toddler makes at meal times with a few simple tricks.

Easy to eat food

Choose what you give your child carefully. If possible, give them food that are drier and not covered in sauce as these are likely to create more mess. Also, avoid food s that stain. However, if you are trying to give your child a healthy balanced diet and also trying to encourage them to eat the same foods as you then it may not always be possible to do this.

Mats and cloths

It is possible to buy plastic mats that you can put below your child’s high chair or seat. This will prevent damage or staining on your floor and make it easier to scoop up any wasted food and put it in the bin as you will not need to sweep or hoover and mop the area. Similarly, you can buy plastic tablecloths that are easy to wipe down after mealtimes and remove the necessity for washing later.

Suction bowls

Sometimes toddlers make mess because their bowl slides around the table or it is free for them to throw around the room. The latter results in food across the floor and up the walls. One way to avoid this situation is to buy bowls that have suction on the base. These can easily be attached to the table and will prevent the child from sliding the bowl around or throwing it across the room.

Reinforce good behavior

Children only know what is good or bad behavior by your reactions. If they behave well at the table then you should praise them for doing so. Likewise, if they make an unnecessary amount of mess then you need to explain to them what is wrong with their behavior in language that they understand.

Eat together

Children learn about appropriate behavior by mimicking the behavior of others around them. This means that you should lead by example. The best way to do this is to sit with your child while they are eating, preferably with the rest of the family eating at the same time. Hey will see how the rest of the family eat and copy what they are doing.

When your toddler begins to feed themselves, it is likely that this will create a mess. Sometimes this is unavoidable. However, by choosing the foods you give them carefully, using protective sheets and tablecloths, using good feeding equipment and setting a good example, some of the mess of mealtimes can be reduced.