Monday, February 15, 2010

pull up a high-chair...

"How do you do a family meal with a 9 month old!?" I was asked. All too often the high chair is standing in the middle of the kitchen, someone puts a handful of Cheerios on the tray, a few mashed bananas and then cleans the kitchen or unloads the dishwasher. I get how crazy life can get so sometimes this is OK, but...

Pull your kids up to the table and sit down with them and eat a meal or a snack. Smile, chat, enjoy your food.

Most high-chairs today come with detachable trays so they can get right up to the table. If not, pull them up next to you and use the tray. These cool chairs in the photo are probably some of the smartest I've seen, but they're really pricey. They allow for the feet to rest on a platform which can be really great for fidgety or easily distracted kids. (A child on the autism spectrum might benefit from a chair like this.) This is a great solution for several years. (I can't tell you how many boosters and Kaboosts we tried. If I had to do it over again, I'd get one of these...)

As your children are able, you share the foods you are eating. Perhaps some softly cooked green beans mashed up, ground beef in broth or sauce, or pieces of watermelon or mashed potato...

Eat with them. Enjoy your time together. The pre-toddler phase is a great time to introduce lots of tastes as kids this stage are pretty accepting. (Children get naturally more picky as they get into the toddler and preschool years.) Enjoy the mess. Change out of your work clothes before sitting down, enjoy watching them intently scrape food into their mouths. Staying close is the best protection against choking. Know that some gagging is normal. Know that some meals they will eat a lot and at others they will eat less. Let them decide how much. Consider breast feeding or bottle feeding after they have had their meal with you. As they eat more solid foods, they will naturally take in less milk. They are still getting most of their nutrition through breast milk or formula, so don't worry too much about fruits and vegetables. Remember, if the experience of eating is pleasant, and you offer a variety of fruits and vegetables and other foods and you enjoy eating them, chances are your kids will too.

1 comment:

  1. Just to say - I have those chairs! My brother passed them on to me, his kids are 13 years older than mine, and we're still using them when my older daughter is 13. Sturdy, adjustable, just great. But we find it much harder now to eat together than we did when the girls were toddlers- we're busier, the girls are busier with events before and after supper, and it's just not cool to hang out with your parents.