Meal Times With A Toddler

We are one of those families that all sit down to eat together at the same time at the table. It's just something we have always done and to be honest I enjoy it. I like to hear about big J's day at school, Daddy's day at work and I talk about what little J and I have been up to. Even when little J was a newborn we would bring his bouncer chair in to the dining room so he could be with us and now he is older he has his highchair just by the table so he can join in on family meal times.

Looking back 2003 - Big J enjoyed his beans and mash

Big J always sat with us at the table as a toddler and we always included him at mealtimes. Even if he had ate earlier than us we would always put him in his highchair so he could sit with us and watch us talking about our days.

Looking back 2004 - He slept through christmas dinner but enjoyed it later on in the evening.

Since little J has been able to feed himself we have had to show him that we do need some table manners even though he is only a toddler. I know I call him my little monkey but I really don't want meal times to become like a chimps tea party.

I'm not fussy on how little J eat his meals as long as he eats. I do encourage him using a fork and spoon but sometimes he will pick beans up with his fingers. Thats okay, if thats how he wants to eat then thats fine. I would prefer him to eat like this than be a really fussy eater. Its all part of development and as a nursery worker you can actually tell the difference between a child who has experimented with their food to one that hasn't. Usually a child that has never played or picked up their messy food usually doesn't like touching sensory items because they may not have been exposed to it.

Big J knows that phones are not allowed at the table and also I don't really like little J having anything musical or similar on his highchair. I know some parents need these type of toys to distract children to get them to eat but little J has always been a good eater so they are not necessary here. I just think toys that make sounds or other stuff distract us and then we don't talk.

My nan and my mum have always said no singing at the table and I'm not sure whether it was because it is bad manners or something else but I too have that rule. We don't sing or shout at the table.

Looking back 2014 - Enjoying lunch outside in the garden

Lastly when it comes to mealtimes, like I said before we all sit together. I do think its important and even when your child can't sit on a chair there are ways to get round it using highchairs or booster chairs. Little J loves his highchair and he will be sad to see it go but he is ready for a new booster seat now as he is almost big enough to sit at the table. I have been looking online and noticed some lovely highchairs and booster seats available at Tesco. Booster chairs are perfect too for the summer when you are sitting in your garden having a BBQ. We had one last year and it meant little J could sit with us at the patio table.

Do you and your family sit together at mealtimes? Do you have any table rules?

*In Collaboration with Tesco*


  1. We always sit down to meals together. I think it's important to socialise and also enjoy our food!

  2. We try to eat together but it is not always an option... but we do try ;-)


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