Keeping toddlers happy and healthy at Christmas

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The Infant and Toddler Forum has launched new resources for parents with practical advice on what to feed their children and how to keep them active over the Christmas period.

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The downloadable resources - an Activity Advent Calendar, advice sheet with Festive Tips for Active Toddlers and the Festive Menu  - were officially launched at a reception at the House of Commons last week, attended by MP Graham Allen, chair of the Early Intervention Foundation.

According to the Infant and Toddler Forum (ITF), an independent group of experts in infant and child nutrition, Christmas can be a time of extra pressure for families who may get 'swept up in the holiday madness' and sometimes forget the needs of their toddlers.

'Everyday routines may go out of the window wreaking havoc with toddlers' moods,' says the Forum. 'Nap times are essential but may be late or cut short, meals and snacks may be rushed and regular activity may get forgotten.'

To ensure toddlers stay active this Christmas, the ITF has created an Activity Advent Calendar for parents which features, behind a window, a daily activity for them to do These include playing 'keep it up' with a balloon, walking to deliver Christmas cards, making snow angels and going for a nature hunt.

The Forum's Christmas Play - Festive Tips for Active Toddlers advice sheet also makes suggestions to parents about how they can make sure their toddlers are getting enough action, as well as providing ideas for different activities and guidance on computer screen time and limiting sweets.

The Little Christmas Plates Festive Menu Planner for Toddlers aims to help parents plan healthy meals and snacks for their toddlers on Christmas day, along with hints for managing food allergies.

For breakfast, the menu planner recommends giving children, aged one to four, either pancakes or a muffin with a small cup of hot chocolate or toasted bagels with cream cheese, or scrambled egg with or without smoked salmon.

Snack suggestions include: cheese and oatcakes with grapes, mini mince pies, slices of apple and a cupcake that children can decorate.

Judy More, paediatric dietician and a member of the Infant and Toddler Forum, said, 'It's so important we keep toddlers active for good health and well-being both now and in the future. It doesn't have to be complicated, just taking a toddler out walking somewhere every day, even if it is raining.'

  • All of the new resources are available to download free from the Infant and Toddler Forum's website.
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