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Fun & Nutritious Mealtimes - All about Parenting Toddlers , Issue #002
December 04, 2002

Shaping the life of your precious ones

All about Parenting Toddlers
Issue #002
4th December 2002

In This Issue:

1. Fun & Nutritious Mealtimes

2. Creating Toys From Recycled Household Items – More ideas …

3. Benefits of reading to children at a young age

4. Christmas Holiday Gifts Ideas

Fun & Nutritious Mealtimes

Your child is at an age when he is more interested in his surroundings than food. As much as you would like to provide the best nutrition to your child, you may encounter common feeding problems. He may be a fussy eater, have an erratic appetite and be poor at keeping to regular mealtimes. Do not despair . The secret to overcoming those feeding problems is to make mealtimes fun and nutritious.

Here are some tips and tactics to try :


Nothing is more boring than the same old fare day in, day out. Your child will appreciate having more variety that can come by serving up different foods prepared in different styles (eg baking, broiling, steaming, stewing and stir frying).


Presenting food in a creative way stimulates your child’s interest. Mix and match foods of different colours, shapes and sizes to gain his attention. Garnish dishes with fruits and vegetables (such as peas, cherries and baby carrots). Give special names to the foods/dishes you served, such as “Popeye’s Spinach” or “Magic Milkshake” for a fruity milkshake.


Set the times for you to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with your child. This will encourage him to eat at regular times. If snacking is required, give nutritious foods in small portions no less than 1 ½ - 2 hours before main meals. Milk, plain crackers and fresh fruits are some examples of light but nutritious snacks. Be firm and don’t be afraid to say “No” if your child persistently asks for snacks but refuses to eat during main meals.


Research shows that children are more ready to eat foods that they have helped prepare. Allow your child to choose which foods he would like to eat from each level of the Food Guide Pyramid. Take him shopping for food. It is a good idea to read food labels and select food together. In the kitchen, let him help you with the simple chores. Get him to set the table.


Your child will enjoy eating when he is eating together with family or peers. Make a commitment to eat together as a family at least once every day. By age 4 or older, your child should be eating the same foods as you. Be sure to set a good example, including practicing healthy eating habits at the dinner table. Children often imitate and want to eat what others are eating.


You can tell stories to teach your child about food and nutrition so as to encourage him to eat right for good health. For example, when serving beans to your child, tell him the story of Jack & The Bean Stalk and how bean protein helps children grow. When relating the story of Humpty Dumpty, take the opportunity to tell him that eggs are a rich source of protein and a wide range of vitamins and minerals.


Ensure that your child is seated comfortably at an appropriate height so that he can reach his food comfortably. Use safe and proper cutleries; preferably your child should have his own attractive personal set. Choose bowls, plates and cups that are shallow, unbreakable, and heavy enough to resist spilling. A lighter spoon handle, however, allows for less tiring grasp.


If your child has been involved in vigorous activity, such as running and playing, allow at least 30 minutes of rest before mealtime. Switch off the television and radio set when food is served. Keep your child’s toys out of his sight. Encourage him to sit down to eat his meal before allowing him to continue on with other activities.

For more on toddlers discipline, click Here __________________________________________________________

Creating Toys From Recycled Household Items – More ideas …

The last issue listed some ideas for creating Mind Stimulating Toys out of recycled household items. The following are some more ideas:

1. Make a collage from old newspapers. Shape it to look like anything you want – cat, ball, shoes and so on. Once you have formed your desired shape, leave it to dry. Then paint over it. Under parental guidance, motor can also be installed for movement. Children learn patience and attention to detail.

2. Make a clock. First, take a round paper plate and write the numbers one to 12, as you would see on the face of the clock. From another paper plate, cut out two pointers and colour them. Make sure one pointer is longer than the other. Pin the two pointers with a thumbtack to the centre of the paper plate. At the back, place an eraser and press the thumbtack onto it. Now you have a paper clock to teach time. Children, too, can use it to practise reading time.

3. Make a bowling set. Requirements: 10 plastic baby powder bottles or 10 plastic shampoo bottles and any plastic or rubber ball 3 inches in diameter.
Procedure: If you use shampoo bottles, wash and remove leftover shampoo before use. Arrange bottles in a triangular shape. For example, Row 1 has 1 bottle, Row 2 has 2 bottles, Row 3 has 3 bottles and so on. Move backwards a few steps, and then just ‘bowl’ towards the pins. For toddlers, it is a great achievement for them to hit the pins.

4. Make paper dolls. Using either art paper or cardboard paper, draw dolls of different shapes and sizes and cut them out. Then colour them in different colours. When I made these dolls, I used to get my children to help me colour them as well, and they learn and have fun at the same time.

5. Make jigsaw puzzles. Select any colourful picture-rich glossy page from any unwanted magazine. Large prints or photographs of city settings, fashion models, animals or landscapes are ideal. Then, paste two similar-sized pages to the front and back surfaces of a thick cardboard (an old box file, diary hard-cover or to a thin wooden plank). Next, trace in equally spaced horizontal and vertical lines incorporating the four-sided amoeba-like shapes complete with their ‘keys’ and ‘locks’. With a pair of industrial scissors, cut neatly through all the interlocking shapes and, voila, two different sets of colourful jigsaw puzzles.

6. Make boxes into cars. You can paint the box or paste coloured paper over it. Use either paint, marker or coloured paper to assemble car accessories. When it’s complete, the child steps into the box and holds it with his or her hands at the sides and makes believe that he or she is actually driving the car.

Refer to Past Issue #001 for more ideas on creating toys from recycled household items

Click Here for more activities for toddlers.


Benefits of reading to children at a young age

Reading to young children is one of the very best things that parents can do for them. Infants will delight in being cuddled and hearing the calming voices of their parents even though they don't understand the words. Soon they'll associate reading with attention, love, and pretty pictures.

As children get older, parents can introduce them to picture books and nursery rhymes. Even at a young age, they will be starting to learn a lot about reading. They'll discover that books are read from front to back and that pictures stand for real objects. As you continue to read to them and introduce them to stories, they'll find out that the print on the pages stands for words and that pages are read from top-to-bottom and left-to-right. Reading to young children is excellent preparation for formal reading instruction in school.

So much of the intelligence children will ultimately have is developed before they even get to kindergarten. When you read to them, you are building pathways in their brains needed for successful reading experiences. They will be developing auditory perception that allows them to think about how words sound. Furthermore, reading stimulates children's language development as they are like little sponges imitating everything they hear. Listening to stories will enhance their vocabularies and help them use longer sentences. Another wonderful plus in reading to children is that it increases their attention spans and ability to focus to what is being said. In addition, reading makes children more curious - a trait that must be fostered in young children or they will never acquire it. And of course, their knowledge of the world will expand.

More than anything else, reading to young children gives them a desire to read. Many children who are read to begin reading on their own without any formal instruction.

For more ideas on how to prepare your child to read, Click Here


Christmas Holiday Gifts Ideas

3 more weeks to Christmas... Remember to choose your gifts early taking into account the time for shipping and handling to ensure that your gifts arrive on time.

Great Holiday Gift ideas ... under $7.00

Books are the gifts that keep giving!

Some gift ideas for those who are safety conscious …..

Fascinating gifts for family and friends!


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See you in the next issue. :-)

All the best,

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