Teaching your baby good manners, particularly while eating, can start quite early. There is no doubt that when your baby starts to eat solid food, she will make a mess. However, that doesn’t mean that you should accept bad behaviors when your baby is eating. If the babysitter or you teach your baby correctly from the start, then not only will your daily life be easier and cleaner, but you will save yourself the hassle of having to break bad habits when your baby gets older.
Unacceptable eating behaviors include: throwing food, spitting food out, blowing “raspberries”, dropping food on the floor, and banging on her tray. One thing that can make these behaviours during babysitting times hard to correct is how irresistibly cute a baby can be while making a mess.
By correcting your baby when she starts bad meal time behavior you will make feeding times much more enjoyable. Correct her by first saying “no” in a firm voice. If she continues the bad behaviour, then stop the meal. Wait for a few moments while telling your baby why she is not fed (ie no throwing food) and then try to feed her again. Don’t use long explanations on why it is bad to throw food, etc. Simply saying no to the behaviour is sufficient and more effective. Repeat as necessary and don’t worry if you have to cut a feeding short after a couple of tries. Her behavior may be trying to tell you that she is finished eating.
Stopping the meal may seem harsh, but it is harmless and necessary. Don’t worry that your little one won’t get enough to eat if a meal ends a little early; she will make up for it at the next feeding. Also, don’t expect perfection. There will be messy times at the table- it is just a fact of life. Your goal or the babysitter’s goal is to eliminate inappropriate behaviour and teach your baby how to behave at the table.
NannySOS is a confinement agency providing confinement care with a team of experienced babysitters for your baby. More information on ad hoc or daytime babysitting services is available in our article Singapore Babysitter.