Yes toddlers are using The Eating Game! The first of 5 age based meal planning charts is for 2 – 3 year olds. Of course the major advantage is going to be that a young child is learning healthy eating habits early enough to hopefully avoid becoming a picky eater! That in itself would be a huge plus.
I believe that a certain number, perhaps a good percentage, of picky eaters are kids who learn that they can be in control using food. Gaining control in your environment is something all kids seek and it is part of normal growth. The key is to allow them to have control while guiding for good choices – often not an easy task!
So The Eating Game was developed with “control” in mind. The way it works is that parents present ample choices and the child is in control of making the choices – they love this! They will be making good choices because the meal planning chart they use requires that they do as they match 4 colors!
The only 2 skills needed to use The Eating Game independently(with the parent present) are: 1) being able to make a choice 2) matching the 4 colors: blue, red, yellow and green. If your child has fine motor delays some assistance may be required.
Using The Eating Game every day to plan healthy meals provides opportunities for growth in other areas of development:
· language development: learning the names of colors and foods, food groups, meals and snacks, listening and following directions,
· speech: practicing saying the names of foods, asking and responding to questions
· practicing skills of sorting and matching as well as following a schedule
· fine motor skills: picking up food pictures and sticking them on the meal planning charts (velcro buttons)
· developing a daily routine of planning healthy meals which can be done 1 meal/snack at a time and eventually planning the whole day for tomorrow.
· helps to develop an understanding of serving sizes and portion control that will perhaps avoid overeating and unnecessary weight gain while ensuring a good nutrition.
The Eating Game was named “a game” by the child it was invented for, as he said “because it is fun!” Learning for young children should always be fun. With this game they win ever time they play too! they will hopefully gain skills that will last them a lifetime.