Embracing Messy Mealtimes: The Why’s & How’s

You’re busy, on a time crunch, you need to clean up and there’s been an explosion of mini broccoli stems, puréed carrots and apple juice in the kitchen. If you have carpet wherever you feed your child, you could be faced with stains unless you’ve invested in a splash mat which somehow, they’ve managed to totally miss! Even though letting your kids run amok at mealtimes means more cleaning for you, it’s also quite important for teaching your kids good food habits. According to the British National Health Service, you should allow your child to feed themselves, using their fingers, as soon as they show and interest. If you’re finding it easier said than done to embrace the stained carpet, read today’s blog for inspiration.




Children who can eat freely are more likely to consume the food you give them. This goes for all kinds of foods, especially fruit and vegetables! Studies have shown that children who feel safe to squash, squish, mush and touch their food become more familiar and more likely to snack on them again. It’s not as simple as ‘if you’re child plays with their food they’ll eat whatever they’re given at dinner time’ but, it does mean that the more accustomed your child becomes to different foods, the more likely they are to eat it down the line.



It’s been shown that children who sit in high chairs and get a little dirty with their food can become more knowledgeable about solid and non-solid substances at a faster rate. You may not think it, but this is a significant step for your little one’s brain development and the way they learn.



Whether it’s dinner time or snack time, your child will be using all their senses as they eat. For example, when they’re poking and prodding, they are developing their sense of touch and when they’re chewing they’re sense of taste and texture recognition is progressing. The end goal is not always to get them to eat it - especially when they’re young because this could instigate fussiness. The goal is to expose them to lots of new foods because letting them get hands on it will prevent them from having ‘food fears’ in the future.




There are so many ways you’ll be able to embrace your child’s messy ways during mealtimes, here are a few ideas you can try to reduce the untidiness if you feel like it could be getting a little out of hand.



Let loose and have some fun with your child during meals, it’ll create a beautiful bonding experience for the two of you even if you do get a puréed punch to the face! Seeing you eat may encourage your little one to mimic your eating habits, and you can always make sure you’re one step ahead by placing a JoJo Clear PVC Floor Mat under their high chair to minimize mess on your newly cleaned floor.



Having breakfast, lunch or dinner in the yard when it’s warm is a great solution to masking the mess inside your home. Obviously, wrappers and pots will need to be collected, but you’ll be able to join in the fun and not worry about crumbs and spillages when you’re on the grass!



Hopefully you’ve given in by this point, and you know what lies ahead: mess, mess and a smidge more mess, but that’s fine! Remember, if you’re cleaning up after your little one every five seconds you’ll be doing them a great injustice. Permitting them to explore various food textures is just another way to familiarize them with foods they’ve never seen, felt or eaten before. It’ll ultimately help further their want to try new nibbles and one day produce good eating habits.



It’ll be time to put on their big kid briefs and start feeding themselves soon, so why not indulge them with a dinner set from JoJo that they’ll get super excited over? They may even want to keep some of their food in the bowl this time…

The Petit Collage Dinosaur 5-piece Bamboo Dinner Set or even the Flopsy Bunny Dinner Set have been designed with fun, friendly faces that are perfect for the weaning process. More styles and dinner sets can be found here.


Have you had a tough time embracing the mess? Leave a comment and let us know what your experience was like.