I’m not a big fan of the ‘baby’ phase, all those sleepless nights and endless feeding routines. I much prefer toddlers, with their cute little phrases; ‘it wasn’t me…’ was a favourite in our household, and little plump legs wandering about endlessly exploring the world around them. It really is a time of great change developmentally, socially and emotionally and I’ve always taken the opportunity to make sure that I have embraced the time to spark their imaginations and introduce them to the world and everything that it offers.
SMA® Nutrition has just launched a great new campaign called ‘Toddlers Today’. This aims to delve directly into the world of toddlers to see what this stage of life really is like for mums of toddlers in Britain today. SMA® Nutrition benefits from over 90 years of experience in advancing baby nutrition and it really is at the core of their business.
I was delighted to be asked by SMA® Nutrition to take part especially as little Ned at 3 is just at the very limits of toddlerhood! It’s a chance for me to reflect on the toddler years with all 3 children and also analyse our routines. I’ve been asked to take part in a week long challenge to record all my activities with little Ned that way we can see how I keep him active and healthy over the course of a week and how that compares with the research.
As part of the campaign SMA® Nutrition commissioned some very interesting research from ICM Unlimited of 1,000 mums of toddlers.
- • They discovered that nearly eight out of ten (78%) mothers believe toddlers are given a more varied diet nowadays, compared to 20 years ago. From personal experience I’m often discussing with my husband how different the children’s diets are to when we were children. There are products available which I hadn’t even heard of even ten years ago. This makes for a much more varied diet nutritionally which is so important.
Of those mothers interviewed:
- • 64% feed their toddler sweet potato
- • 37% feed them Fairtrade or organic products
- • 35% feed their toddler couscous / quinoa
- • 28% feed them avocado
However, this does all come with a slight difficulty. I don’t know about you, but some of these products are quite new to me and so I don’t really know whether or not the children are getting everything that they need. For example, my children tend to eat more vegetarian food than I ever did as a child and I’m quite aware that they might not be getting everything they need for optimum growth and development, especially Iron which is so important for normal cognitive development.
The other result which really stood out for me in the research was just how much toddlers eat out today:
- • Nine out of ten mothers (90%) eat out with their toddler at least once a month
- • Over half of mothers (54%) eat out with their toddler once a week
- • When eating out, seven in ten mums (70%) feel comfortable taking their toddler to restaurants
I think this is a result of the incredibly busy lifestyle that we all lead nowadays. In fact when I was a child I can count the number of times we ate out and clearly remember the local McDonald’s opening as it was such an unusual thing to have a fast food restaurant in your town. My children are no strangers to eating out and we often grab something on the go at a cafe or restaurant because I’m so busy acting as a taxi service to various activities. Quite literally sometimes it’s the only chance we have to eat something warm.
However, with eating out comes its own set of worries. It’s really hard to find places which serve enough edible vegetables and fruit for example and I’ve been known to present them with an apple for pudding. Alongside my lack of knowledge about some of the ‘newer’ more unusual ingredients I’m now cooking with, I also worry about whether they get what they should from a meal out.
That’s why I can genuinely say that I’m a big fan of Toddler Milk and I’ve given it to all 3 children. Two x 200 ml servings of SMA Toddler Milk provides 86% of a toddler’s Vitamin D and 60% of their Iron, to help meet their daily nutritional requirements.
It also contains Calcium to help support normal growth and development of bones and Omega 3 and 6 LCP (Long chain polyunsaturates).
**Reference intake is the amount of vitamins and minerals required per day by young children to help meet their daily nutritional requirements.
The research also showed how normal it is now for toddlers to be quite technologically savvy. In our household we call little Ned ‘Mr Technology’ because quite frankly he is better at using the iPad and the TV remote (don’t ask) than me. This is backed up with the research demonstrating that 80% of toddlers play with gadgets and almost half know how to take photographs and record videos. All well and good, but this is all time that they are not outside playing and getting the Vitamin D which is so vital for normal growth and development of bones!
Sue Palmer, an independent Developmental Expert comments on the research “Lots of play (particularly outdoor play) is not only vital for children’s physical development but also helps develop crucial emotional qualities, such as self-confidence and resilience. Toddlers need to hone real-life communication skills and large-scale physical coordination and control. Simply reading them stories, singing songs and giving opportunities for active, creative play are still the best ways to provide all-round development in the under-threes.”
In terms of holidays, the average toddler seems to do quite well. Nearly nine in ten mothers (87%) have taken their toddler on holiday with the most popular being a beach holiday (56%), followed by a city break (34%) and camping (24%). 36% of toddlers have even been taken on a short haul flight! My toddlers have all been on holiday with us; however it’s most likely to be camping rather than a foreign holiday. Camping is a lot easier than you think with a toddler and you’ll find lots of tips here on my blog.
If you’d like to see how our average week compares with the research do come back as I’ll be reporting back in a couple of weeks!