Creative Play

Activities for Screen-free Mealtime

Activities to make toddler eat without TV

Ever heard this famous saying “prevention is better than cure”? This means it’s easier to stop something happening in the first place than to repair the damage after it has happened. This is also true while you train food habits in your kids. Once your child knows that eating while watching TV is possible, his mind will always link food with TV. Here are a few activities which I always executed to keep my son busy while eating and successfully avoided screentime. Now my son does not link food with any type of screen. 

If your child is already addicted to TV and you want to change this habit, this post is also for you. 

1. Make sure the child is willing to eat.

Simple trick – just put one bite in his mouth to see if he is interested to eat. If he accepts this bite then bang on it’s his mealtime.

2. Fix mealtime place – eg: high chair and table

This step is crucial because his brain will link eating with this particular place. Therefore whenever your child is willing to eat, he will go near the chair and would want to sit and in most cases vice-versa is also true. 

3. Eat with your child

As a caring mother, we tend to feed our children first and then eat ourselves. Try to make eating a social practice, and eat with your child. He will not only learn to sit and eat, this can encourage children to chew better and sit as long as we are sitting on the dining table.  

4. Let him eat on his own

Yes you are reading it right, just try and keep similar food in your plate. Make sure its easy to pick up and eat for the child like rice, pasta or if its bread cut it into smaller pieces. Show him how you are eating and allow him to eat in his own style and if he is making mess then also its ok. Try to involve him completely into eating activity. In some cases kids don’t like to chew they just gulp the food, therefore you will have to continuously tell him to chew the food along with actions. If your child is not responding correctly in this way then involve him with his games and toys as discussed below.

5. Use his toys/ books instead of showing screen.

With this habit, you can teach children to spend more time with their toys and staying involved. Ideally, anything other than food on his high chair during mealtime is a distraction but playing with toys is still better than watching TV.

i) Here is the list of toys which I am using to feed my little one and I can easily avoid showing him TV/iPad. Let me make your work even more easier, just click on the products below to buy them online with I have shortlisted cheapest and best options for you.

No Screen Toys

ii) Quick homemade play ideas

In my previous post I have shared few homemade easy games which can keep your child engaged for sometime. Click here to see the post.

6. Appreciate when he completes his meal.

When he finished his portion, appreciate him by saying good or just clap with big smile on us face. He will feel also accomplished after completing his meal. If you are not sure weather your child is eating enough or not just click here and read my post on basics of toddler nutrition

I have trained my son to eat without watching TV. Also with the help of these toys, I have full control what he is learning. At the age of 11 months, my son was able to stack all the cups and I am so proud of him.

Whats your story? How do you ensure your child is finishing his portion.

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