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Holiday Tips for Toddlers

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For a lot of us, each holiday season is packed with mixed
emotions. There is excitement for new traditions, pictures, gifts and the
weather. But there are also stress-inducing lines, returns, travel and the
inevitable mealtime confrontations. Here are a few holiday tips for toddlers.

Make a holiday
mealtime plan:
If your toddler has some finicky
habits
, educate your family about the difficulties your toddler may experience
(not in front of the toddler, of course) eating in a new environment. If
possible, make these plans over the phone to avoid uncomfortable interactions
with your family at the dining table. Having an open and frank discussion may
ease your tension and help to establish a trusting and safe environment for
your hesitant eater. Here are a few ideas to help support your child this
holiday:

Sensory and stocking
stuffers:
Support your child’s sensory needs by bringing your
toddler’s favorite items (books, stuffed animals, hand fidgets like our Micro Mat, games,
etc.) to the table. This will help them feel relaxed and secure before and
after these unpredictable holiday meals. For kids who have sensory-based
feeding issues
this tip will make their holiday merry and bright (with fewer
meltdowns too!).

Language to handle
the Scrooges:
When it comes to feeding instructions and mealtime rules,
the regulation, correction and praise needs to come from mom and dad (not from
well meaning relatives). I encourage parents to educate in-laws and other
family members about the language we use at mealtime. Explain to them that our
words can encourage or discourage kids to try a bite of a new food. They can
also increase or decrease the likelihood they will eat with them again. So,
have your script prepared in advance on how to respectfully inform your family
about the preparation and language used to make mealtime successful. Here are a
few examples:

We talk more about language use in our book Making
Mealtime ezpz
and provide additional examples on how to use encouraging expressions
to help kids become more adventurous eaters. What is your go-to language for
explaining your child’s eating habits? What are your tips to help toddlers
eat consistently throughout the holiday break? #ezpzfun #ezpzbook

Happy Feeding,

Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz

Photo Credit: Paul Joyner Photo

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