Christmas with toddler does not have to be a drama, as long as you do not set too high expectations for your toddler. It is important that you ask yourself well what you can ask of your toddler and what is actually unrealistic. If you also make it fun for your toddler, you are completely baked with Christmas! Read our tips for a Christmas dinner with toddlers, which is also successful!
10 tips for a Christmas dinner with toddlers
With these tips, you might have a worry less and you can enjoy a relaxed Christmas dinner with a toddler.
1. Do not force your child to eat
Do many nice things appear on the table during the day and then all of them disappear into the mouth of your child? Then chances are that your child is full by the time the dinner is served. Do not force him or her to eat anyway, because then it will really be a battle including crying and uncomfortable moments for the other guests at the table. You can ask if your toddler will sit down with a color plate or something else for some distraction.
2. Prohibiting sweets is impossible
Your toddler does not yet have a great self-control. If the table is laden with chocolate, Christmas wreaths and cake, your child will eat here anyway. You can of course pay a little attention, but forbidding your child anything is purely bullying. Especially when it is all open and exposed on the table.
If you want to keep the candy behavior of your toddler within bounds, do not put chocolate etc. on the table, but occasionally go around with some goodies and give your child something. Put things on the table for the adults that your child does not like. You can also make a separate dish with sweets and your child has to do it that day or evening.
3. Cozy cooking together with your toddler
Involve your toddler in preparing the food. This way you can immediately keep an eye on things and encourage your child to try everything. Your child naturally wants to taste his or her creations. Even better: let your child decorate the desserts or bake some cupcakes together. That will be a party! Your child can also help with the signs.
4. Come all the way into the Christmas spheres
Make it extra cozy and come all the way into the Christmas spheres by dimming the light, lighting candles and putting on fun Christmas music. That way it really feels like Christmas and a special fun day. That your toddler really will not fail to notice and maybe he or she will also rest a bit more!
5. Put on beautiful Christmas clothes
Lift the Christmas spirit to a higher level by putting on your most beautiful clothes. This does not necessarily have to be something new. Children always have a favorite dress or a package that they like to wear. Put on a nice outfit yourself so that you all look beautiful. If your toddler is old enough, you might want to let your toddler choose your outfit. Can you proudly say the whole evening that your son or daughter has chosen this especially for that day. What will they be proud of!
6. Put together the Christmas menu together with your child
A good tip for a Christmas dinner with toddlers is: put together the children's Christmas menu. If you already know in advance that your toddler does not want to eat with you, you can think together what your toddler (and perhaps other children) do want to eat. Read more tips for a Christmas menu for your toddler here.
7. Provide distraction and make a fun game of it
Are you going out for dinner at Christmas? Then distraction is essential for a successful Christmas dinner with toddlers. So bring enough games or booklets, coloring pages and felt-tip pens. You can also bring your toys. You can give this in a nice way, for example after each walk you let your child unpack a new toy. The toys do not have to be new, can also be just toys that your child already had. By giving your child something new in the form of a present after each course (or after every half hour, for example), you make it super exciting for your child. What will it get now? After you have given the gift, your child is distracted for 5 minutes anyway and after that you can build up the tension for the new gift. For example, giving hints.
8. The best table decoration ever
Make sure you and your child or children make the nicest and most beautiful table decoration ever. Then it is a real treat for your child to join. You can do this by buying placemats that your toddler can decorate. There are also tablecloths available that can be beautifully drawn and colored. Other fun things: candle holders where glitters and stickers can be stuck on or fun kids' food.
9. Children's play corner
That long dining is of course mega boring for children. Therefore create a nice children's corner where the children can lose their energy between courses. Make sure there are fun games and toys, some coloring pictures or that the children can watch a nice movie. So the kids are distracted and you can have a normal conversation.
The last of the tips for a Christmas dinner with toddlers is a very important one: RELAX! It is Christmas and that may be child friendly! Do not be too busy when your child walks away from the table, does not eat a lot of vegetables at dinner and puts the third chocolate in the mouth. The more you battle with your child, the more annoying Christmas dinner will be with your toddler.
What you can do is make clear agreements in advance, but then also keep the Christmas thought in mind. So stay smooth. An example of appointments that you can make:
- Your child will eat at least 2 (or more) courses at the table, for example the main course and dessert and may play between courses, or before and after eating.
- Give your child your own bowl of sweets or let your child choose something for example 6 pieces. Your child has to do it that day. In the evening you can give him or her your own bowl with chips.
- Explain to your child that you leave more at Christmas, but that the fun is over after Christmas.
- If necessary, try to give your child some healthy snacks, such as pieces of fruit and vegetables.
Do you have any more tips for a Christmas dinner with toddlers? I'm curious about your experience!