Children are messy eaters, and when they eat on their own, they feed their dress, chair, floor, and nearby objects. As a new parent, you may struggle to deal with this, and no matter how much you clean your house, you will find a piece of apple or pear resting under your couch every time your child sits to eat. This might be a problem for parents who love to keep their homes squeaky clean. But the truth is, a house with a toddler gets messy sooner than you know, and this food mess is actually good for them! Yes, you read that right! Here are a few reasons why allowing your children to eat independently and mess up is good for their overall growth.
1. Children Who Eat In A Messy Way Are Less Likely To Be Picky Eaters
Studies conducted among children stated that children who were allowed to make a mess while eating were less picky about their food . They like picking the food on their own and finding the taste. In addition, the kids who touch the food and feel the texture with their own hands are less likely to suffer from neophobia . So the next time you see your kids making a mulch out of their food, don’t panic! They may be able to overcome their aversion by checking out new tastes this way.
2. It’ll Aid In The Child’s Cognitive Development And Speed Up Their Acquisition Of New Vocabulary
Researchers discovered that toddlers who sit in their chairs and interact with their food learnt more about solid and non-solid foods sooner . Therefore, instead of showing the food from your own hand or shoving it in their mouth, you should allow them to touch it and interact with the food on their own terms. In addition, children may apply this information in their language acquisition because they can match the names of the food they are eating to the ones they read in their books.
3. It Helps Develop Their Motor Skills
A toddler’s first foray into the world of cutlery can be littered with mess. However, this mess allows them to make mistakes and learn from them. Besides their stomachs, their minds are fed as well. They learn that dropping items or tossing them causes them to fall away or alter their shape. So even if it makes you scream to see chunks of apple and bananas fly from the plate, don’t panic. It’s a learning curve, and you need to let them learn by themselves. Tactile sense or need to touch the environment drives newborns . The more they feel the food with their fingertips, lips and tongues, the more they strengthen their motor skills.
4. Experimenting With Food’s Textures And Temperatures Are Both Exciting And Overwhelming
It’s okay to let your children discover foods on their own since they naturally crave independence. In addition, researchers state that children behave like tiny scientists, gathering data and conducting experiments to establish the most effective technique. The researchers also found that allowing the youngsters to play elicited a greater response than just telling them what to do . So perhaps allowing children to choose their own meals is a good idea.
5. Take Advantage Of The Opportunity To Provide Finger Foods
Choose foods that are easier to clean, such as pancakes or fruits, instead of liquids. For example, thickened oats are less likely to fall off the spoon. The fragments that will fall on the floor should be caught by a mat or newspaper. Make sure you don’t place them on your favorite bed sheet or make them wear clothes that aren’t easily washable. Instead, keep a bib ready before feeding and place them on a plastic sheet that can be wiped clean of all the food mess.
6. High Chairs That Are Simple To Wash Should Be Your First Choice
There are many options to choose from when investing in high chairs. They are made to hold your baby in place and keep the chair stable even when they fuss and twist. Make sure you buckle them up and never leave them without supervision. You can lay the finger foods on the high chair table and let them enjoy the snacks at their own pace. It may take an hour, but they will only learn better when they do it independently.
7. Make Use Of Additional Methods To Reduce The Amount Of Trash
Even though eating on your own is important, you need to know that it will generate a lot of trash, so you might as well prepare for it! Instead of giving them cereal in a bowl that can easily fall, use bowls with suction cups to hold the bowl perfectly on the food tray. You can also give them sippers instead of glass to ensure that the juice does not spilt everywhere.
Having a spick and span home with a child around is only possible in movies, and honestly, how would people even know you have a child at home if you don’t have the floor laid out with Legos and fruit chunks! So, it’s okay if your house doesn’t look picture perfect and guests are coming. You can borrow our motto, ‘homes are for free expressions, not good impressions!’