As soon as your baby is old enough to start eating solid food, you can all start having meals together as a family.Your baby’s first foods can be plain foods that you eat. Eating together at home or a restaurant is a great way to connect and grow as a family, and it brings many long-lasting benefits to parents and children.
Most meals only take about 20 minutes and even if you’re used to eating on the run, it’s easy to get into the habit of sitting down as a family. The Ellyn Satter Institute offers a five-step plan that can take you from being clueless to a family meal-planning superstar.
To make your family meals more successful try these tips:
• Make family meals routine; expect that everyone will sit together to eat
• Make the same meal for everyone
• Plan the weekly meal menu as a family. Make sure everyone gets at least one of their favourite meals.
• Let children help with grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up as much as possible. Even babies can join you at the store or in the kitchen.
• Meals don’t need to take a lot of time to prepare. Make sandwiches, reheat leftovers, or grab a bag of salad or roasted chicken at the grocery store.
• Don’t bring your phones or tablets to the table; turn off the TV.
• Let children lead how fast (or slow) they want to eat; let them decide which of the served foods to eat and how much.
• Involve everyone in the conversation and keep mealtimes fun.
• Check out the Better Together website