Encouraging toddlers to chew their food is an important developmental phase that helps them shift from a soft food diet to a more diversified and healthy one. There are a multitude of benefits of chewing food for the betterment of your toddler’s overall health. Firstly, it aids in the digestion process by breaking down food into smaller particles, allowing for better absorption of nutrients in the stomach and intestines.
Proper chewing also stimulates the production of saliva, which contains enzymes that help initiate the digestion of carbohydrates. Moreover, adequate chewing supports good dental health by reducing the pressure on teeth and promoting saliva flow, which helps protect against tooth decay. By taking the time to chew food thoroughly, you can optimise the digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall well-being of your toddler. In this blog post look over why is it important to chew food and seven easy ways to help your toddler to chew their food:
- Provide appropriate textures: Include a range of textures in your toddler’s diet, such as crisp fruits and vegetables, soft meats, and chewy grains. The variety will stimulate and engage their chewing muscles. Remember that it takes time for children to learn to eat all of the different textures that are accessible to us. At first, try to serve very small portions to minimise mealtime stressful situations.
- Be a role model: Eat with your child and demonstrate correct chewing habits. Take your time chewing your food and be enthusiastic about the process. Chew your food slowly and deliberately, making exaggerated chewing motions. By being a positive role model, you can inspire your toddler to follow your lead and develop healthy chewing habits that will benefit them throughout their lives. Children frequently imitate their parents, so setting a good example of your own might help.
- Use a fruit feeder: A Fruit Feeder can be a useful tool for encouraging your child to chew on fruits. These mesh feeders are particularly intended to hold fruits and vegetables. The opening in the mesh bag allows your baby to feel and taste the food while reducing the risk of clogging. It gives children a safe method to experiment with biting and chewing without being afraid. You may introduce a variety of fruits and vegetables to your baby with a Fruit Feeder, encouraging chewing skills and broadening their desire for food.
- Provide praise and positive reward: When your toddler chews and eats their meal successfully, give them praise and positive reinforcement. Celebrate and encourage their accomplishments. This positive feedback can encourage your child to keep practising and improving his or her chewing skills. You can also make your child sit at the dining table with the rest of the family during meal times. It encourages the child to begin chewing solids by demonstrating to them how everyone else at the table is chewing their meal.
- Encourage self-feeding: Allow your youngster to feed themselves using utensils with their own hands. This aids in the development of basic motor skills and promotes independent chewing. Allow your child to explore and experiment with a range of bite-sized foods at their own pace. Try giving them a little authority over their meals by giving them choices. For example, inquire whether they prefer apples or bananas, or beans or carrots. This gives children the ability to make decisions and feel more engaged in the feeding process.
- Be calm and supportive: While self-feeding can be messy and time-consuming, it is critical to stay calm and supportive. When your child is capable of feeding themselves, avoid taking over and feeding them. Instead, provide moderate instruction and compliment their efforts. Create a comfortable environment free from distractions such as TV, toys, or electronic devices. Encourage conversation and positive interactions with family members at meals.
- Make use of age-appropriate language: Based on the child’s age, keep your directions basic and easy to understand. Use descriptive language to teach them how to chew their food, such as “take smaller bites,” “chew slowly,” or “use your teeth for breaking down the food.” Remember, every child develops at their own pace, so be patient and understanding during this learning process. With the help of these chewing tips, you can teach your toddler how to chew food properly.
Common side effects of not chewing food properly:
- Digestive Issues: Proper chewing of food is an important aspect of the digestion process. When your toddler doesn’t chew their meal thoroughly, the stomach and intestines have to work harder to break it down. This can result in a variety of digestive issues, such as indigestion, bloating, gas, and stomach discomfort. Inadequate chewing might also prevent nutrients from being absorbed from food.
- Malnutrition: Proper chewing helps in the initial digestion of food, allowing your body to obtain nutrients more easily. If you don’t chew your food properly, you might not be able to absorb all of its vital nutrients. Even if you eat a balanced diet, this might contribute to malnutrition over time. Inadequate nutrient absorption can lead to a lack of vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients for good health.
- Dental Problems: Chewing food thoroughly breaks it down into tiny bits, reducing the load on your teeth throughout the chewing process. When you don’t chew your food properly, you place extra strain on your teeth, which can lead to dental problems like tooth fractures, tooth sensitivity, and gum disease. Inadequate chewing can also lead to decreased saliva production, necessary for maintaining oral health and preventing tooth decay.
EuroKids can inspire your child
When it comes to nourishing a child’s overall development, including their ability to chew food properly, selecting the right play school is critical. Eurokids, a well-known play school, provides an optimal atmosphere for children to develop and master important skills such as proper food chewing. Eurokids promotes healthy eating habits and encourages children to experiment with diverse textures and flavours through its child-centred approach.
So, if you’re seeking a play school that prioritises healthy eating habits and encourages proper chewing techniques, Eurokids is an excellent choice. With Eurokids, you can rest assured that your child will receive the necessary support and guidance to develop lifelong skills and a foundation for a healthy lifestyle.