It’s time for parents to put down your spoon and let tour toddlers start playing with their food! Messy eating is something we as parents should be encouraging. Learn the benefits messy eating can bring to your toddler by reading this now!
As parents, the messy eating of our toddlers is usually something we try to avoid. Food on the floor, in their hair, over their face and hands; it’s enough to make you shudder!
But it turns out that messy eating is something we should be encouraging our kids to do. Today I’m going to explain the benefits of letting toddlers play with their food and how you can keep your sanity when they do!
Benefits of Toddlers Engaging in Messy Eating
Making mess matters. It’s like a right of passage for out kids as they grow up. As children learn best by playing, meal times should also be regarded as a type of game. Providing finger food plus food of varying consistencies helps our kids to learn what is edible, what it feels like and where they should put it! The benefits experiencing messy eating brings to our kids include:
- Being able to identify a larger number of foods- one study showed that toddlers who were hands on with their food learnt the names of foods and different types of textures better than those who weren’t.
- Encourages curiosity about food – we all know that kids can be picky eaters sometimes. Letting young toddlers play with their food can help break down barriers to the feel and taste of food. It gives them the control over their food choices, which can (and I say can) reduce food pickiness.
- Develops creativity – this is probably something you don’t want to hear but being messy with food is just as important as being messy with paint, mud and other materials. While table manners are important, so is learning about the different textures of food and how they work.
- Independence – while it is quicker and cleaner to feed our children ourselves, giving them the opportunity to practise using a spoon, cup and even figure out how to get the food into their mouth!
- Body awareness – for your toddler, messy eating helps them learn about the parts of their body, where they are and how they work. The feel of the food in or on their hands and fingers is replicated on the other parts of their body as they touch them. Who would have thought squished food in their hair would be a good thing?!
It’s Time to Play with Your Food!
Yes, there’s going to be mess. But it’s also going to be fun! OurConstructive Eating plates, placemats and cutlery sets make eating even more fun. For a great mess catcher, ourMake My Day Silicone Baby Bibs are wonderful at helping stop drips and crumbs too.
If you’ve encouraged your toddler to experiment with their food, what food types did you find best? How did you contain the mess? We’d love to know, so please share it with us here in the comments.