From weaning, mealtimes and children in the kitchen the topic of food can be complex. We need to understand that food is far more than just sustenance as it represents culture, heritage, family, enjoyment and social interactions.
Here are our top tips for establishing a Montessori and lifelonghealthy relationship with food and your child.
Be prepared for some breakages and mess as your child develops co-ordination, explores natural consequences and develops independence. When your child is eating with the family you may use a highchair that pulls right up to the table so they feel included in social interaction and conversation.
Cooking with your child is a wonderful opportunity for developing a range of skills including fine motor and high order thinking skills. You may consider using learning tower or stool (once a child is standing steadily) to bring them up to the height of counter tops. Remember to always supervise your child in the kitchen, stand between your child and the cooker, consider child-safe knives, have plenty of cloths for spillages and have child-sized cleaning tools such as brooms. Recipes can progress from an infant sensorially enjoying the experience of observing, touching, tasting and smelling to toddlers peeling and slicing fruits and using scales to measure ingredients. You may often find a child is more eager to eat the food they have prepared themselves at mealtimes than that you have prepared alone.
Try to find the fun in food. See past the mess and remember that food is the ingredient that binds us together.