Mealtime is one of those times of day that can be a challenge as a parent. That time right before bedtime is typically not when babies will be at their best. They are tired and hungry, and with that comes a good dose of grumpiness. I know what it’s like, but thankfully with time I’ve found some tricks that have made mealtime a lot more pleasant (magical even!) for everyone involved. Here’s what has worked for us:

1. Giving Baby his own feeding set

Somehow having a fun set of dishes and utensils instantly makes mealtime more fun. It gives my son something fun to focus on (instead of his grumpiness) since he loves to practice using his utensils.

2. Giving him a variety of food

I’m not sure if it’s the varied colors, shapes, or flavors that entices my little one most, but for whatever reason, it seems that he enjoys mealtimes most when I offer him a variety of things. It also makes it less difficult for me to get him to try new foods. When there are many to choose from, he seems to be more apt to try a little of everything.

3. Letting him feed himself

It can be tempting to feed babies yourself, because the mess is sometimes pretty unreal, but letting them feed themselves is so worth it. It gives them a chance to exert their independence and it gives you time to free up your hands. A win-win for all.

4. Teaching him signs

Teaching our little one the signs for “more” and “all done” has made such a difference in meal time tantrums. Even though his words are still very limited, he is able to communicate what he would like using these two simple signs which has helped so much!