The holidays are crazy enough.
Adding two toddlers into the mix is just chaos.
In hopes of simplifying the holidays this year, I am sharing my tips for a mess free holiday dinner with toddlers.
You guys are probably laughing at that. “Mess free? Yeah freaking right. My toddler is a tornado!”
But trust me on this. I have used a few of these tips over the last couple months, and so far, so good. Some came from a few hacks I tried out hoping for a mess free birthday party (and they actually worked!). I shared those tips a few months ago in this blog post.
Then others are some my friends have sworn by. Essentially, they are great tips for everyday mess free toddler meals. But honestly, who wants to go through great lengths to protect your own kitchen floor on a Tuesday? Not me. I only break out the mess free hacks when I need to.
Like for a holiday dinner!
The last thing I want during the blissful yet chaotic holiday gathering is to clean up my twins tornado of mashed potatoes and holiday dress covered in god only knows what.
I’d much rather spend the time enjoying the day, and not frustrated with my babies.
So in comes the mess free holiday dinner hacks.
Simplify the Holidays with these Mess Free Holiday Dinner Hacks for Toddlers
Tip #1: Grab a cheap plastic table cloth from the dollar store ASAP.
You know the ones that barely hold up to you opening them from the package? Well they make for a great barrier from food to floor that you can just bunch up and toss. Amazon also sells reusable ones, like those picnic table covers, but eh. I want to simplify the holidays. Not add in the scraping and washing of a food mat! Grab a cheap mat here with some extras to spare.
Tip #2: Snag some disposable placemats
Again with the disposable- because we are all about SIMPLE this year. No chaos aloud! My mom actually introduced us to these after a disastrous lunch out at Red Robins one day. I always have a few in my diaper bag now for easy toddler meal clean up! Grab a cheap pack here!
Tip #3: Remember their portion plates!
My twins need their toddler plates. Not only do the plates encourage them to eat what’s on them, but they suction to the table. A for sure must, especially at someone else’s house! Click this link for my favorite ones from Nuby.
Tip #4: Forget the mashed everything
When it comes to the food choices- be smart. If you are confident your toddler can handle the mashed potatoes without getting them everywhere, go for it. Personally, I wouldn’t. I opt for the finger friendly foods that I don’t have to hover over them while they’re eating. Less chance at a big mess explosion!
Tip #5: Small portions. Two or three kinds of food at a time.
Next with the food- don’t give them too much. I am for sure one of those people that piles my holiday plate high with all sorts of varieties. But when it comes to my twins, I stick to two or three things at a time. That way, if they don’t like the food I can easily replace with something else. And if they reeeeally don’t like the food, less ends up on the floor!
Tip #6: No shirts at the table
You can just make everything easier on yourself and make the dinner table a no shirt zone. It is a lot easier to wipe down a naked tummy than it is get the stain out of the pretty holiday top.
Tip #7: Or just use a pouch bib
If you don’t want to go shirtless, opt for a killer bib that WORKS! I swear by these pouch bibs from Nuby. I know that you probably don’t use bibs at home for your older toddlers, but give it a try and see. These bad boys actually catch the majority of what my twins drop from the table. Snag them from Amazon here.
Tip #8: Bring your own food
When in doubt, always have some of the foods you know they love. I have been seeing that new Kraft advertisement loop round on social media for a while now and I love it. The holidays can create some stress on our littles because they are filled with foods they likely haven’t tried before. Play it simple and try the two or three foods like I mentioned above, but have a back up. The microwave Kraft mac and cheese is what I’ll be bringing as a back up!
Tip #9: You CAN sit with us!
This one might be annoying. I get it. But in the mindset of keeping the holidays mess free, sit with your babies. Just while they eat. Then make yourself up a plate and eat in PEACE while you set them up in front of the TV. You guys know thats how I roll around here. That is how I am able to enjoy my own meals, and how I intend to enjoy my holiday meals!
Tip #10: Do NOT forget the wipes!
Last but definitely not least, do NOT forget the wipes! Pull them out and put them on the table, keep them in your pocket, however you have to do it. Keep them close by. Clean up asap after the littles are done eating. Don’t risk their grimey little toddler fingers getting on everything while you franticly look for anything to wipe them down.
What do you guys think? Are you ready to conquer the holidays with these mess free holiday dinner hacks for toddlers?
What was your favorite dinner hack? I’d love to hear!
I hope you guys have an awesome holiday season, and that simplifying the holidays makes the season just that much more fun.