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  • Writer's pictureShannon Quigley

Why does my child eat better at nursery?

This is something I hear a lot from worried parents, but why do little ones prefer to eat at nursery and usually enjoy trying new foods here?

This can be a very normal part of development and there are often plenty of reasons why this may happen. I will list some reasons below but it's important to remember that raising little ones is hard! There are no right and wrong ways of doing so. One of the most stressful times for some parents may be mealtimes. It is all a learning experience and this includes learning what helps your little one enjoy foods more at home too.

So what could some of the reasons for your little one eating more at nursery be?

  1. Lack of Pressure;

Are meal times at home focussed on getting your child to eat more? Or to finish everything on their plate? Why not try reducing the pressure at home and see if this helps with your little ones eating at home

2. Routines;

Nurseries usually have a set routine for their day. A set time for snacks and mealtimes. Most nurseries will also have a mealtime routine often involving setting the table or having all the little ones wash their hands beforehand.

3. Less focus on food refusal;

At nursery there may be less attention given to your little one when refusing foods.

4. Role Models;

There are lots of other children around at mealtimes while at nursery. These other children may eat well and have a positive influence at mealtimes

5. Involvement in Meal Prep;

Lots of nurseries have now started involving children in meal times. This can range from helping clear things away and creating 'snack helpers'. Involving children in mealtimes can increase engagement.

6. More variety;

Generally nurseries often offer different foods every day and can sometimes be offered foods they have not tried at home.

7. Fewer Distractions;

At nurseries there are no tv's or iPad's that can be used for distractions. Children are often asked to clear toys away before meals or are moved into a dining area. Why not try to adapt some of these into your home routine?

8. No alternatives are offered;

Children are often only served one option. No alternative meal options are offered. Children may be offered extra bread or 1 piece of fruit.

Sometimes all we need to do is take a step back and look to see what is going on at mealtimes! What makes home different from nursery? Is it the menu? The environment? How staff react? The fact that your little one is surrounded by friends?

If your struggling with your little ones eating why not get in touch with a Registered Paediatric Dietitian to see how we can help you?

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