In our house, spaghetti is always a win, and for a few reasons. First of all, I know my kids are always going to finish their dinner. Second, it’s quick and easy – what more could you ask for? And lastly, there’s normally ALWAYS leftovers. Wins across the board.
However, there is one small caveat -- the mess. I have 3 children under the age of 5, so let’s just say, the noodles don’t always make it from the bowl to their mouth. And neither do the sauce-covered meatballs. With this said, there’s a few ways I’ve found over the years to make spaghetti night less messy:
1. Ditch the clothes
Since my kids were infants, spaghetti nights have meant diapers or underwear-only at the dinner table. Think about it: less stains and less sauce and mess when you pull the shirt over their head when dinner is over. It’s just a straight-to-the-bathtub-after-dinner protocol.
2. Saran wrap is your best friend
It’s super fun to let your child, especially your baby, figure out how to eat spaghetti on their own. Plus, it’s a pretty cute photo op afterwards. What isn’t cute? The high chair scene when it’s all said and done. Try wrapping your high chair tray in Saran wrap before putting the spaghetti on the tray. When your baby is finished, remove the Saran wrap and enjoy a mess-free tray! Be sure to attach the Saran wrap ends on the underside of the tray to avoid it being pulled up by your baby.
3. Small portions
Giving your kids smaller portions allows them to manage their food easily. It may keep you jumping up and down to fill their plate more often, but they are learning to control the food in front of them in a portion that is suitable to their silverware size.
4. When all else fails, suction it!
Now you can find plates and bowls with suction cups on the bottom to keep them in one place on the table. This eliminates the slipping and sliding of plates and bowls that end up on the floor. It also helps your child maintain focus on using their utensils, instead of trying to manage a moving dish while trying to get the food from their plate to their mouth.
5. The catch all
To avoid a messy floor and tons of after-dinner clean-up, grab a garbage bag or a towel and spread it out on the floor below your baby’s highchair or below your child’s seat at the dinner table. When dinner is over, simply pick-up the towel or garbage bag and dispose of the mess.
Let’s face it, not all meals are going to be the easiest to clean up, but letting your child get a little messy when they’re eating is part of growing up. And there’s some powerful sensory play involved in dinner time! I hope your spaghetti night is as fun as ours.
Keep the fun going with my favorite spaghetti night dinner table reads:
- Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
- Wednesday is Spaghetti Day
- Daddy Makes the Best Spaghetti
- Spaghetti Eddie
- The Day I Wore Spaghetti to School
- Arthur’s Good Manners
- On Top of Spaghetti
- Eat Leo! Eat!
- Spaghetti and Meatballs for All!
- More Spaghetti, I Say!