Wednesday, July 06, 2011

A Few Tips For Feeding Young Children

As a childcare provider, I've fed a lot of children over the years.

And while I certainly don't know everything about this, here are a few tips I've found for getting  the toddlers and preschoolers at my table to eat a bit better.

1) A small plate. I use the salad/dessert size from my regular set of dishes. So far I haven't had any trouble with breakage, but then I haven't given them to really young people who are more apt to throw their plates on the floor nor do we have tile floors.

2) Small servings. For some reason, a huge amount of food intimidates a lot of kids. I usually give a tablespoonful at a time for young ones with a bit larger serving for older children. They can always ask for seconds!

3) Food cut into more manageable sizes. Whole sandwiches cut int quarters. An apple in slices rather than whole. And so on.

4) Don't offer a lot of snacks. This sounds strict, I know, but they eat better if they don't have a lot of food in between meals. Water is available anytime they want it and an afternoon snack is always offered. I would rather give them an early lunch most days than have them fill up on snacks and then not eat at mealtime. Of course, this rule varies from child to child and from day to day. Some days, we all need a mid-morning snack to keep us going!

These little tips work for me!

What are your ideas for feeding small children?


Tessa said...

Great tips, Mary Ann! We also try to eat all together at the table with the TV off. It helps to keep them from getting distracted and wandering away...I have such trouble getting them to stay put!

I'm visiting from WFMW!

Mary Ann said...

Thanks for visiting, Tessa! We eat together at the table too. Kids seem to do better when we're all eating at the same time!

Barb @ A Life in Balance said...

Great tips! I've have 4 little ones 7 and under, and I've noticed that less is wasted if I start out by serving them less. I also grab smaller bowls or plates like you suggest.

Often, if one kid doesn't like something, someone else will eat it for their seconds.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is Roxie and I too do home child care. I am in Texas.
I have been doing child care more than 20 years.

I often use my small processor to shred food for the children. The children love the shreds of carrots. I will give them a bit of shredded cheese and a cracker for snack.
I will make a shredded carrot and pineapple and raisin snack too. They love it. It is sweet but is not sugar sweet.
I can also claim this snack on the food program.
Thank you for the good ideas.