Last updated on Jun 25th, 2015 at 12:37 pm

Toddlers like to demonstrate independence, especially at mealtimes (yes, this could explain why you are constantly being hurled at with pieces of food).

While allowing your toddler to find confidence in his independence is great, instilling good eating habits will be beneficial in the long term (because let’s face it, being a food target is only fun for so long).

Try the following to teach your toddler good mealtime manners:

Encourage family meals

What better way to teach good eating habits, than by letting your toddler learn from you. By eating together as a family, your toddler will be exposed to the way that you and your partner converse with one another and handle your food. Eating together also encourages chatter between parents and children.

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Be relaxed when it comes to manners

Before you lose your sense of humour over your toddler’s resistance to eat with a knife and fork, take a deep breath and remind yourself: Your toddler will continue to with her fingers (and make a mess) for a long time. The more you harp on it, the more your toddler will resist it. Let her enjoy the mess, it won’t last forever.

Tempt your tot with food

Use different colours, tastes and textures to make food tempting for your toddler. She is more likely to eat food that is appealing to her. Colourful plates, bibs and cutlery can help create temptation.

Patience, patience, patience

On average, it takes 10 tries for your toddler to accept a new taste. Be patient and persevere – just because your toddler doesn’t like what you give him today, doesn’t mean he will not like it tomorrow too.