The strict rule for proper nutrition suggest that the parents' duty is to provide a framework for the meal - the time, the place - and to show a variety of foods. And in turn, the child decides what he eats and how much he eats, which means that:
* Mother decides:
• What food to offer her child, assisted by the information she has about good and healthy nutrition.
• When to offer him food, how many times, at what time and where.
• How to offer him food and the behavioral rules to be observed while eating.
* Child decides:
• If he wants to eat the offered food.
• How much he wants to eat.
• When to stop eating after he has received what is sufficient for him.
• His speed of eating, the amount and the kinds of food he prefers to have.
Always remember that during childhood, the child craves information. So you can start to teach him healthy eating habits, develop his abilities to choose food and encourage him to taste new food, through:
• Getting him to participate in the food preparation by himself, under supervision.
• Enjoying a shared meal with the family, which is one of the important factors of good health, because food swallowed hastily in front of the TV screen is not absorbed well. Eating a meal with family members conveys a message to the child about healthy nutrition, especially when he sees his parents choose healthy food.
• Providing calm and comfort during meal time, without "distracting" him with the TV, a game or other distractions.
• Paying attention to the signs that he is satisfied (turns his head) and ending the meal.
• Not using repulsive ways for eating, such as forcing him to open his mouth and putting food in it. This makes the child hate the food.
• Letting him get dirty, touch the food, eat it with his fingers and feed himself when he is ready. No need to clean the baby's face at every moment because getting dirty with food is part of the fun.
• Offering him small meals each time and increasing the quantity according to his way of eating. This way, you provide him with the pleasure of success and the ability to eat alone.
• Providing him with more tastes and textures. Infant cereals from CERELAC® are the perfect option for this stage of weaning. It provides a pleasant and suitable texture for his growing chewing abilities at the age of 1 year with a variety of fruit pieces.
Q2: What are the rules and dining table manners that you should start to teach your child?
The meeting around the dining table constitutes the first form of communication and interaction the child discovers in his life. So the family, and the mother in particular, should properly educate her child about table manners from an early age. The meeting around the table then turns into a daily social lesson from which the child benefits when he faces the future in his public life outside the walls of the house. Most children are ready to start learning the skills of proper table etiquette after they reach the age of 3. They comprehend much of what is said to them when they sit with the family around the dining table before this age.
Steps to help the mother reduce the "chaos" while eating:
• High chair: The child will learn how to sit at the dining table by helping him to sit in the children's high chair. The mother should set the rules and make the child respect them. It is prohibited to stand while positioned in the chair or trying to get down. He should sit in his place until the end of the meal.
• The use of the bib: Making the child wear a bib while eating is a message to him that the food is prepared to put in the mouth, not on the face, hands, clothes or anywhere else. The mother should remove the bib once the child finishes eating.
• The use of tableware: The child tries to eat with the spoon by himself. Although he cannot use it properly until reaching the age of 3, the mother should encourage him and supervise the attempts, then clean the space from food waste.
Dining table rules and etiquette:
• The mother should always remind her child that the food is for the whole family and not for him alone.
• The mother's behavior as well as that of the older members of the family need to be the example for the child to follow.
• If the mother notices that her child is satisfied and beginning to play with the remains of his food, she should remove his dish at once.
• The child should never be rewarded with food as he will consequently start to link food with crying and his mother's love.
• The mother should be the example for her child in the way she eats and what she eats. It is known that children are clever imitators. If the child sees his mother having soft drinks and fast-food regularly, he will think that eating these items is normal.
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