I have seen some interesting dinnerware options that I am going to be exploring in more depth in a later blog post. In my research, there are some alarming dinner games that encourage rewarding with food. I’m not trying to be the fun police, BUT, I do believe in teaching your child to eat an amount that they recognize fills them up at mealtimes. I also believe in the meal being family time and full of learning opportunities. I also believe in appropriate reward for appropriate behaviour – with an acknowledged achievement being the best reward.
So, until I have finished writing my more comprehensive blog post about setting the table up for your child to eat well. Here is my version of an appropriate mealtime engagement activity.
Get the PDF by clicking on “Tasty Dinner Adventure” & print up multiple copies of the 3rd page (game page) & laminate them to use as your plate.
1) Children and Parents decide together what food goes on each of the colourful squares
2) A balanced range of colours and food groups should be represented (fruit, vegetable, meat or meat alternative, dairy or dairy alternative, cereal / grain)
3) The reward at the end is NEVER substituted for food (like sweets)
4) The reward for having a tasty dinner adventure is that you completed a tasty dinner adventure and gives you a sticker to put on your dinner adventure chart
5) There is no additional reward for completing the chart. Never remove stickers your child has earnt from the chart for misbehaviour (this gives mixed signals). Find another consequence more fitting to the actions.
6) There needs to be at least two players playing together. This ensures the game is a family meal & brings learning opportunities to the forefront.
7) During the game you can talk about the tangible aspects of the food you are trying / eating – colour, temperature, texture, shape, flavour
8) Keep a learning bowl on the side for the foods you tried and might come back to trying again later