#1. Eat family meals with everyone at the table.
When our kids were infants, we sat them at the table for meals in a reclining, strap-in high chair.
They didn’t eat, but they were present. When they were old enough to sit with good control, we moved them into a Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair.
We LOVE these because they are wooden, so they look nice, they are completely adjustable as your child grows, and they can even be used as an adult chair! The other great thing is there is no tray; it pushes right up to the table, so everyone eats together. By the time our kids were around 18 months, they were able to climb up into the chair by themselves. Now at 2 and almost 4, they still use them without complaint!
Family meals are great because the whole family is there. The kids can learn proper table manners by watching the adults (hopefully!!), and listen to and participate in conversations. I think they’re also more likely to at least try new foods when they see others eating them. Sometimes I’ll intentionally not give Lilah a new food so that she’ll see me eating it and ask to try it. “You want to try a bite of my salad? Why, certainly!” 🙂
The meal we always eat together is dinner, but for your family, it might be breakfast or lunch. I don’t think it matters what meal it is, just that everyone sits down and has a little time together.
There’s a good bit of research out there supporting the family dinner from nutritional, psychological, and educational standpoints, so Google it if you want other good reasons to set up a meal time for your whole crew!
Read more in the Top 5 Most Important Things to Do with your Toddler / Preschooler series:
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