Disclosure: I received some for of compensation from Brown Owl Kids to produce this post, however all opinions are my own. Dear Diary, I am a mom of three kids–a five-year-old picky eater, a two-year-old high maintenance eater and an 11-month old-messy eater. As all moms can attest to, mealtime with the kids is always an exhausting adventure. After preparing what seems like 3 separate meals, we dive into dinner. Of course, my meal is cold, since in addition to my chef’s hat, I’m a waitress running back and forth to the table serving everyone hand and foot. Over the years, I have figured out how to make mealtime less stressful and more meaningful. Here are my mealtime tips for babies and toddlers. Anticipate a Mess I put a floor mat under the high chair and the kids’ table This helps me clean up quickly. Otherwise, the mess stays on the floor until after bedtime. After meals, I just pick it up and shake it off outside in the trash can. You can also go the disposable route and throw the covering away after each use. Buy a Bib We reviewed the Brown Owl Babies Jungle Bibs, which you can wipe clean or throw in the dishwasher. There’s a big pocket to catch spills and minimize messes. Now that my Messy eater is feeding herself, the pocket in these bibs is a must-have. Because the pocket is propped open, the food (mostly) falls into it, and my daughter will usually just reach back in and grab it again. I really liked the adjustable neck, which will fit babies from four-months-old to toddlers. The bib is soft and comfortable, so my daughter didn’t try to take it off. If we eat out, the bibs are super cute, and the neutral colors match almost every outfit. Make Food for Everyone I wish my kids would eat everything I made, like my siblings and I did with our mother. But that’s not the case in my house! At first, I thought cooking for everyone’s individual tastes would wear me out. Then, I figured out how to cook smarter, not harder. This reduced cooking time and my grocery bill. For instance, I can purchase a whole chicken and make multiple meals. I’ll whip up a chicken soup with lots of fresh veggies for one child. I quickly pan fry part of the child for another child. While the soup is cooking, I’ll make side dishes, like rice. The messy eater has soup and munches on a roll. My picky eater eats the chicken. The High Maintenance eater, my husband and I all eat the entire meal. If you have leftover chicken, you can make sandwiches or a chicken salad for the next day. One 30-minute cooking session at the stove serves everyone. Schedule Meals There have been several times where I felt like I was cooking or feeding someone all day. Anytime someone was hungry, I would feed them. And with everyone on a different schedules, especially as my oldest started school, I, finally learned to schedule meals as a family. If the children get hungry in between breakfast, lunch or dinner, I grab go-to snack. A yogurt or string cheese will suffice! This helps me not slave away in front of the stove. Instead, I can spend more time making memories. All of these things have helped me become better organized and more efficient as a mom. I now enjoy mealtime and enjoy the company of my kids. Hey DFTM–What are you tricks to making mealtime more enjoyable? And didn’t you just adore the Brown Owl Babies Jungle Bibs? You can enter to win a set for your little one! Disclaimer: All entrants must be from USA. A winner is selected at random and will be announced on the 5th December via email and Facebook, if the winner does not claim within 7 days another random winner will be chosen. 3 Responses Janeane Davis November 11, 2014 One thing I learned while cookin for our family of six is that I make only one meal and meal time is the same for everyone. I make thins that everyone can eat. My son hates vegetables and one daughter is a vegetarian so I make meals iwth a little someting for everyone. This means a side dish for one is the main course for another. These bibs are adorable, by the way! Reply MJ November 11, 2014 Those bibs are the cutest! And boy do I know how important a good bib is! It’s a mommy savior for sure! Reply ichoosethesun November 13, 2014 Ahhh…I SO need these now that Baby Sunshine is eating solids 🙂 Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.