R is for Role Modelling

A-Z of family mealtimes R

There is more to eating than just the food.

Children pick up cues about what they perceive to be safe to eat from us, from siblings, from their peers and from carers in childcare settings. They’ll look to us to see whether we’re enjoying our food before giving it a try. They might even eat from our plate instead of their own – if we’re eating it, it must be ok!

They also learn how to behave at the table from our eating habits, by seeing us sitting well, having a conversation and leaving the tech behind.

That’s why it’s important, even if you’re not having dinner at the same time as them, to at least sit with them and maybe have a small amount of what they’re having as a snack and to model the right behaviour.

You might also find that having a teddy bear’s picnic or cooking together in the play kitchen is great way of increasing familiarity and exposure to foods as well as for role modelling expected eating behaviour and table manners.

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