Mealtime with kids can be stressful on a regular day, nevermind when you add in holiday dinner parties!
Whether your 3 year old is bouncing off their seat from sugary Christmas cookies or your new eater is balancing spoonfuls of mashed potato and gravy over your aunt Ida’s white carpet, dinner at the kids table can be tricky.
Check out these kids table tips and tricks for every type of eater at Christmas time!
For the picky eater ...
If your kid is a picky eater, this one’s for you! Many Christmas foods only come once a year, which means they won’t be familiar to your new eater. Not to mention Christmas dishes are usually geared toward adult tastes.
One way to avoid a meltdown is to use a divided plate like this one to keep foods separate. Keeping foods separate and simple (think plain turkey with gravy on the side instead of mixing them together) will encourage your little one to experiment with new foods at their own pace.
Someday they’ll be old enough to appreciate how delicious gravy is on literally everything. Until then, keep it simple!
Another picky eater tip is to let your little one in on the cooking. If they help make the meal they’ll know exactly what went into it and they’ll be excited to try their creation!
For the messy eater ...
Mealtime with a toddler can make your table look like it’s been through a blender. While you may be used to this, it’s not ideal when you’re a guest at someone’s house!
A quick way to prevent messy spills and encourage independent eating is to use a suction bowl or plate like this one. Food stays on their plate and they get to feel like a big kid eating on their own.
For the kid who can’t sit still ...
Does your little one run around the house between every bite? Or maybe they don’t quite have the patience yet to wait for the main course to be ready.
Here’s a trick restaurants have known for years – cover the table with butcher paper, place some crayons in the center of the table, and let the kids have at it! Or you can make it extra special for the holidays with Christmas-themed printables like these.
Another option is to offer table-top games or small toys to keep them occupied until the food is ready! If you’re feeling extra festive, you can even place a party bag at each seat with small games and toys to keep them busy.
For the kid who doesn’t want to miss all the fun …
Kids can feel like they get the short end of the stick when they see how fancy the grown up table is. Why not make the kids table just as fitting for the special occasion? You may want to keep the fine china at the grown up table, but dishware made with kid-friendly materials like these bamboo plates, cups, and bowls can look just as nice when you throw in some fancy place mats, a festive tablecloth, and a holiday-themed center-piece!
Bonus points: Let them set the table themselves if you’re having Christmas dinner at your place. They’ll be excited to eat at the table they helped decorate!
For the older kid ...
Tweens and pre-teens (heaven forbid you call them a kid!) don’t always like being lumped in with younger family members, but sometimes there’s just no room left at the grown up table.
One trick to keep them happy is to give them a responsibility or a specific task that sets them apart from the younger kids. This could be filling drinks when they get low or helping the little ones cut their food.
They’ll feel (and be) helpful, and it will show them you don’t see them as a baby (even though you’ll really always see them as your baby!)
Let us know your own tips and tricks for the kids table or if any of these come in handy!