Preparation to eat independently – Aajol

Preparation to eat independently

What happens if you give your child some food on their plate and leave them to eat on their own?

Most likely they end up eating very little and playing a lot with the food.

How do you find that idea of the child playing with the food, making a mess, spilling the food everywhere including their clothes, the floor, the furniture and so on?

Many of us feel a knot in our stomach and our chest may tighten by the mere thought of this.

Many of us also encourage our children to eat using spoons and forks and we try to insist on clean eating.

Let’s keep our reactions aside and look at some important aspects of this messy experience.

Experimentation with food is a vital and rich sensory activity. When the child looks at the colour of the fruit, touches it, senses its temperature and texture, lifts it to their mouth, laughs or gets frustrated when it slips from their fingers, grabs it again and lifts it to their mouth again, smells it and puts it in their mouth, feels the taste spread in their mouth, it creates a complete sensory experience for them. It becomes a good example of mindful eating which many of us try to re-learn in our adulthood as a wellbeing or even spiritual practice.

When we expect the use of cutlery or insist on clean eating, we take away many parts of this experience of eating which nourishes their bodies along with their senses and heart.

Let’s say yes to a mess when it comes to our child eating on their own. We can make sure that we simultaneously feed them so that their appetite is taken care of.

Activity:

What meal can you pick to allow the child to try interacting with the food in a free and independent manner?

Make sure you breathe deep breaths and release any resistance you may feel while the child enjoys their food.

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