Even if you spent minimal time making dinner, it still can feel so defeating to sit down to eat and your child refuses to take even a single bite. The food your child was begging for yesterday, may no longer be desired today. We really get it. Children keep us on our toes, which is why it’s necessary to have a few tricks up our sleeve to help you encourage your child to eat dinner!
Here are a few ways to encourage your child to take a bite of dinner (and hopefully more bites will follow) with these simple dinner table activities.
Roll a Die
Bring dice to the table and ask your child to roll a die. The number that your child rolls is the number of bites they take. Rolling a die can be a fun way to turn it into a game.
My children always grumble when they roll a 6 for their vegetables, but they are good sports about it because it is a fun way to encourage your child to eat dinner.
Display a Food Board
Display a large sheet of paper to place in the kitchen. Every time your child tries a new food at dinner, they can put a sticker on the chart.
An alternate suggestion is to write the actual food down. You can write down the words your child used to describe the new food.
*This will help the next time you encourage child to eat the food, and you can say, remember how it tasted “______.”
Meal Plan and Involve Your Children
Kids have less tantrums when they know what is ahead. Meal planning allows your child to be prepared for the food that will be served.
Knowing that the decision for meals is already made and that there aren’t other options – helps to calm anxiety over the dinner meal.
Give your child a responsibility to help prepare dinner or set the table, to get them more involved.
Everyone at the table takes a bite of dinner, and each person takes a turn saying one word to describe how that bite of food tasted.
This is a great opportunity to teach your child the different adjectives like sour, sweet, salty, and more!
It will feel odd, but eating blindfolded is a great way for kids to learn to rely on their senses. Have them sit down to dinner and smell a bite of food while blindfolded.
Your child can guess what the food is after smelling. Does your child’s guess change after taking one bite?
This game can be tricky because your child can’t see what you are cooking beforehand. And many of us mamas don’t have the luxury of cooking dinner with an empty kitchen!
This game could work for new foods at snack time. It’s also really helpful to encourage your child to eat dinner.