Food is a strong social glue, and eating together as a family or in the company of friends is associated with healthier eating and an adventurous attitude towards food. Food can be fun and eating together and sharing creates a positive experience from a young age.
Here, psychologist Dr Angharad Rudkin, who’s working with Organix on their babies who lunch campaign, explains why it’s good for weaning to be a shared and social experience …
It’s good for little ones to eat with other little ones
- Eating together is one of the most important social skills we teach children – weaning is primarily about introducing a variety of foods but learning to sit and eat with others is also important and it’s great fun.
- Children learn by watching others, so it’s a good idea to create lots of opportunities for learning and imitating other people.
- Peer influence – watching peers will make it more likely that your child will try new food or behave in a different way – you’ll be surprised by what they will try out, which they wouldn’t at home!
It’s good to sit down to eat with your little one, and to eat as a family, and try food together:
- It shows your baby that they’re important and that eating and mealtimes are important.
- As your baby eats they learn about a whole new world of sensory and social experiences and they’ll be more relaxed with mum or dad by their side and so more likely to try new foods.
- If you have a bit of a wriggler it will be even more beneficial to sit with them, chat and have a little fun while they eat.
It’s good to wean together and share experiences with other parents:
- Talking, chatting, laughing and trying new foods in a social environment turns weaning into a really positive experience for parents and makes it an exciting and fun time for little ones too.
- Being a parent can be hard work at times, just as children learn from other children parents can learn from each other too.
- Talking about your experiences and sharing tips is great for encouragement, it can give you more confidence and give you new ideas to try.
- You may be surprised to find your little one is prepared to try things with others that they wouldn’t try with you!