You’ve just made a lovely lunch and are sitting down with baby to eat. Ahhhhh.
5 minutes later baby is done.
While the attention span and stamina of a 6 month old very well may only last 5 to 10 minutes at the start, here are some tips to stretch that precious time in the high chair.
1. Exercise before right before the meal.
Tummy time, crawling through tunnels, or just a good ‘ole fashioned dance party can help get the wiggles out before meal time.
2. Bring baby to the high chair hungry.
While we don’t want hangry babies, bringing your child to the table hungry and motivated to eat will set the meal up to succeed.
3. Serve the food right away.
Don’t put baby in the high chair until the food is truly ready. That way their stamina and attention span for the activity is saved for the meal itself.
4. Make meals fun and social
Cheers! Channel a dinner party vibe. Clink your glasses, coo at baby, talk about the weather – whatever it takes to keep it light and fun.
5. Hide or cover toys during the meal.
Babies and toddlers are easily distracted and the sight of a tempting toy can throw the whole meal off.
6. Give your child a foot rest.
Optimal seating positions are not just important for creating a safe eating environment and safety but for comfort and stamina in the chair. When babies and toddlers have to use a lot of core muscles to sit comfortably in a chair they will fatigue easily and tire of the meal.
7. Honor when baby signals that they are done.
When babies are kept in the high chair longer than they want to be, they can develop a negative association with the chair and eating.
Manage Your Expectations.
While these tips will help extend a meal and give you some precious hands-free time, set the bar low and manage your own expectations. Sitting for a meal is a skill that will take some time and practice. Be patient, model what you want your family meals to look like in the future and with time that 5 minutes will become 45. That is until they learn to climb out of the chair!