Alula starts to feed herself since the very first day when she took solids. From that very first day too, we try our best to have our meal time together with her as a family. Be it at home, at the restaurants, at the food court, even at friends' house. Whenever we eat, we offer her something to eat too.
Our goal primary goal is to give her an example how to eat - sitting properly, grabbing the food, aim the food into our mouth, chew the food, and how to drink - holding the glass and gulp the water. On top of that, we also would like to make Alula get used to social eating, eating together as a family.
According to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, children who eat at least five meals per week with their family are at lower risk of developing poor eating habits, weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies and tend to perform better in school than those who frequently eat alone or away from home.
Eating together may seems simple, but it give valuable lesson to children. First, it creates connection between parents and children. We have a very strict rule: eat only on a dining table, and no gadget while having a meal. Second, children will develop better communication skill, as there will be many interesting conversations across the dining table. Like in our family, I and my husband will discuss many things during our dinner: news, books, things that happen in his office, Alula's development, my day, and so on. Hopefully Alula will get the insights of our fruitful discussion :D
Speaking of eating together, Alula usually eats more when she eats among others who are also eating. She really enjoys her meal time whenever she eats with me and her dad, or our friends and relatives when they're visiting. The more the merrier!
I optimise her meal time to teach her everything - food names (veggies and fruits), food textures and colours, name of utensils, and many more. Besides those, I also emphasise on giving example of how to eat.
Alula loves strawberry. She could finish a lot strawberry on one go. However, she has difficulty on picking up small pieces of strawberry on her table. Like earlier today, she tried to grab the small piece with all of her fingers. Of course, then the strawberry piece keeps slipping between her fingers. Then, Mama gave her the example to use just her thumb and her index finger by making a pinch. Hup! She successfully grabbed the strawberry and directly aim it to her mouth.
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