Games to get your toddler to eat

A big welcome to Alli Price from Motivating Mum who is visiting us with a great guest post for all those tricky eaters you know. She has some really fun ideas, so without further ado I’ll hand you over…

Don’t Play with your Dinner!   Games to get your toddler to eat.

As all of you are probably painfully aware, it’s tough getting kids to eat and not always because they’re fussy.  My daughter is great at eating but has the attention span of my boyfriend when discussing the shopping list!  For this reason we have been forced to get creative at dinner time and, although it is sometimes painful always having to play games, it’s certainly less painful than the alternative which is negotiation, followed by yelling, followed by the naughty step.

Following are the games we have devised to get our toddler to eat and if even a few of you out there can benefit from what I share then it’s a blog worth posting!

1.     I hold up the five fingers on my hand and wiggle them about.  Amelie then has to make them disappear one at a time by eating a mouthful of food.

2.     I ask Amelie to eat something red and she eats a pepper.  I ask her to eat something green and she eats a bean.  She’s usually so busy working out the colours she forgets she’s eating at all.  You can also do this with the alphabet i.e. eat something beginning with ‘g’.

3.     I tell Amelie she’s going to be a magician and she has to make things ‘disappear’ from her plate (while I’m looking in the other direction).  When I turn back I’m amazed that it has disappeared.  When I pretend that it has turned up in my mouth she finds that hilarious.  When I protest that I don’t want her to make any more broccoli appear in my mouth as I’m full she can’t wait to eat more to fill me up.

4.     We also use simple subtracting.  If she has three beans I ask her how she can make it two.  When she holds up a bean I say ‘quick eat it and make it two!’

5.     We make food into families i.e. if there are four pieces of carrot they are mum, dad, brother and sister.  When she eats one, I ask her which one it was and who misses them the most.  Whichever she indicates has to be eaten too so she can reunite them.  If there is one left on the plate, they must be lonely so they also have to be eaten!

6.     I also play the animal game with Amelie which is what does this animal eat?  She then has to be that animal i.e. pretend to be a rabbit to eat carrot.  When it comes to something like broccoli you have to bend the truth a little!  We use a turtle for broccoli!  If there is a particular food your child doesn’t like it might help if their favourite animal eats this food.

7.     We also play a fun game where eating food provides visible results of regaining energy.  For example, eating one piece of carrot gets your finger moving, eating two pieces gets the hand moving and eating everything gets the arm moving about all over the place.  This can be a bit wild and messy but is ultimately enjoyable!

8.     Have you ever played musical dinner?  Everyone has to eat until the music goes off and then you have to hold a pose.  While the music plays everyone has to eat in a circuitous manner i.e. one piece of meat, one piece of potato, one pea and so on..

Alli Price runs Motivating Mum – website and events for mums in business (or those wanting to start up).  She is also a mum to Amelie, 3 ½ and Freya, 2 months.