Stains on clothes, hair full of food, dirty face, food on the floor and Mom almost on the verge of collapse thinking that her son does not eat and that he is only playing with food ... Does this picture sound familiar to you? If your child gets dirty while eating, do not worry! All are benefits! And is that this behavior is closely related to the character and personality of the child and its autonomy.
When the child starts with complementary feeding, many parents get very stressed: the dirty kitchen, the stained clothes, everything thrown on the floor ... Does this situation really have to be a stress? Is it as bad as it seems? The answer is No, and that is that you should allow your child to get dirty while eating.
At the beginning and in the course of feeding, it is common for us to believe that our little ones are a kind of 'robots': they receive the food sitting in their high chair and we, the parents, give them the food.
Some parents even tend to be shocked when their child gets dirty while eating and take unhelpful attitudes such as running to get cloths to clean it, scolding them and, in many cases, even punishing the little ones for their behavior. It is very normal and common for parents to want an exemplary table, clean and without traces of food, but, beyond that, does this have any positive effect for the child?
It is important that parents (or the caregiver, as needed) establish a positive relationship between the child and the food that influences the consumption of healthy and varied foods to minimize the rejection of food. It is also important to avoid insistence when feeding because it can lead to future problems in the child's eating behavior. And all this can be done if we let the child get dirty during feeding.
One of the most striking aspects of emotional development in children is the search for independence, although it is true that childhood has different stages, this is one of the most important. Children want to show that they are capable of taking care of themselves and doing things 'alone' and without the help of anyone.
In this attempt to seek independence, the exploratory phase is of vital importance, without a doubt, feeding themselves and getting dirty while eating generates great benefit and it is one of the aspects that reflects that search for independence. For this reason it is vitally important to let the child get dirty while eating for different reasons:
- You will further develop your motor skills (psychomotor development, eye-motor coordination, acquisition of fine and gross motor skills).
- Regulate the speed at which you eat.
- You will have greater awareness about your body (You will know where your mouth is or what force you will have to apply to bring food into it).
- He will enjoy eating and you will watch him eat (although you get heartbroken for seeing him all dirty)
- You will discover and become familiar with the food, leading to greater variety and acceptance by experiencing the different textures and flavors without restrictions.
- You will learn to eat safely.
So I invite you to arm yourselves with patience, and at the time of your child's meal, dress him in comfortable clothing that does not matter if he gets dirty and, at the end, simply clean everything and him too.
And, above all, do not limit everything he can experience through getting dirty with food ... In the end, it will be beneficial not only to him, but to you too, because he will develop many skills (it is part of his learning) and he will accept with more easily various foods! In addition, with the passage of time, their skills will improve and they will be perfected until they are able to eat by themselves without getting dirty. All are advantages!
You can read more articles similar to Children who eat dirty are more independent, in the Infant Nutrition On-Site category.