Meaningful Mealtimes with Toddlers

Do you dream of meaningful mealtime conversations that connect your family in a powerful way? A place where you can share your heart and soul with the family you love? Where your family can create memories that last a lifetime?

Sometimes the gap between meaningful conversation and awkward silence seems huge. But it really is not. Read on for practical tips on how your family can enjoy powerful mealtime conversations—even with toddlers.

The easiest way to set the stage for mealtime conversations is to turn off the TV. This will help hold toddler attention.

Ask adults to silence their phones and keep them away from the table. Nothing stops mealtime conversations like scrolling, texts and calls.

Make family mealtime a safe place for everyone. Mealtime is for conversation, not battles over how much children should eat. Serve a small amount of each food on your toddlers’ plates—about a tablespoon for each year of their age—and let them decide how much to eat or even if they want to taste the food.

Compliments encourage conversation. Start by offering each person loving words. Catch them in the act of being amazing that day—and let them know you saw how amazing they are. Tell them something you especially like about them.

Ask questions. Start with simple ones like “What made you happy today?” “What made you sad?” or “What did you do today to be kind?” (Participation is always optional.) Sign up below to receive free daily mealtime conversation starters for the next month.

Listen with love. Be fully present and support family members with your smile, eyes and attention. This is not the time to correct their speech or discipline them—just bask in their words.

We are all fragile—especially toddlers. Make sure your reactions to their questions and answers are kind rather than critical. For everything they share with you, give positive responses: “I like hearing that.” “You are so interesting.” “I am so proud of how kind you were today,” etc.

Ask more questions to encourage additional sharing and deep conversation. Simple prompts like, “Tell me more” let your family know you are listening and interested in what they say.

Be aware you are creating memories — lifetime gifts that will help your children move on to become the successful people you want them to be. What will you do this week to have meaningful mealtime conversations?

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