For a lot of us, each holiday season starts with mixed emotions. There is excitement for new traditions, pictures, gifts, the weather and so much more! But there is also annoyance about the lines, the returns, the flying or driving to see family/friends and of course the inevitable holiday mealtime confrontations. Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the upcoming holiday meals.
Making a holiday mealtime plan: If your toddler has some finicky habits, educate your family about the problems your toddler might have (not in front of the toddler, of course) and suggest ways your child might be more comfortable eating in this new surrounding (e.g. eating a snack by yourselves, staying on your ‘time zone’ for mealtime or enjoying a special activity before a meal). If possible, make these plans over the phone to avoid any uncomfortable interactions with your entire family at the dining table.
Language to handle the Scrooges: When it comes to feeding instructions and rules, the regulation, correction and praise needs to come from mom and dad, not from well meaning relatives. So, have your script prepared in advance on how to nicely inform your family about the preparation and language used to make mealtime successful. “Johnny has a hard time with the unfamiliarity of mealtime in different places, so we use the Happy Mat to make meals consistent.
Sensory and stocking stuffers: Support your child by bringing your toddler’s favorite sensory items (books, stuffed animals, hand fidgets like our Micro Mat, games, etc.) to support relaxation and security before and after these unpredictable holiday meals.
What are your tips for keeping toddlers eating consistently during the holiday break?
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz