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Earlier this year I took part in the Toddler-Sized challenge, encouraging parents everywhere to turn the evidence based guidance on feeding toddlers, developed by the Infant & Toddler Forum, into something easy and practical to take the guesswork out of feeding toddlers well every day.
Thank you for all your support back then. There were so many suggestions of ways to make balanced toddler meal times so much easier and now the winners have been announced here. Three great ideas for making toddler meal times as stress-free yet nutritionally balanced as possible.
But, do you want to know more about what makes a healthy toddler diet? Whether you are looking for every day guidance or help on a festive day you can try out the Infant & Toddler Forum’s festive menu to give little ones a healthy balance, while still enjoying a nice balance of treats.
Christmas is such a great time for families to be together, to relax and to celebrate the festive season. It can also be a time of extra pressure as families get swept up in the holiday craziness of parties, shopping and cooking. In such a busy time, everyday routines may go out of the window, and it can be hard to keep track and make sure your child is eating the right amount of the right foods each day.
Also, some children become extra sensitive as routine changes influence their moods. Nap-times often go out the window at Christmas and both meals and snacks may be rushed and regular activities sometimes get forgotten.
To help make the most of this busy but lovely time, the Infant & Toddler Forum have put together some tips to help keep everyone happy, active and healthy through the holiday season for all:
- If possible, try to plan events around your family’s schedule – what works best for you?
- Ensure you have regular meal times and 2-3 nutritious snacks evenly spread throughout the day.
- Give any sweets or chocolate at the end of a meal to protect teeth and limit them to 2 or 3 at a time.
- Make sure that children are getting enough activity: Take them walking somewhere everyday even if it is raining – toddlers like jumping in puddles. It might be just a walk to the local shops or delivering Christmas cards to the neighbours. Getting your toddler out of the pushchair will slow you down but make it fun by chatting to your toddler and maybe having a running race to the next corner. Park your car further away from the entrance you are heading for so everyone gets a walk before going back inside.
- Try the The Activity Advent Calendar Challenge – get organised and agree an activity for each day leading up to Christmas. It might be a trip to the playground for 30 minutes of outdoor play, a dancing competition or a game of hide and seek indoors.
- Or have a Christmas nature hunt – skip along and collect leaves, berries, acorns and pine cones to make decorations for the tree or table. Lots of glitter and sticking is good
- You could even take a walk to see all the lights in your local community
- Limit TV and other screen time like computers or tablets to just one hour a day, saving the screen time for family Christmas TV programmes or a DVD together.
- Instead involve children in making some festive decorations and goodies – gingerbread biscuits for the tree, decorating the Christmas cake or making snowmen out of toilet rolls and cotton wool.
- And last but by no means least, make time for down time. Make the night time story a Christmas story and after an active day some children may sleep better for it too.
So, this Christmas make sure you have a great time. Surrounded by friends and family, enjoy the good food and drink that the season has to offer and help your children to have a good balance and a sense of routine over Christmas too. Merry Christmas everyone!