This is one of my favorite parenting hacks ever. It simplifies SO MUCH and reduces everyone's frustration at meal time.
By the time your kid is 3, he or she can learn to be responsible for handling a plate of food that hasn't cooled off yet. (Be SURE that the PLATE is not too hot though--don't burn your kid!)
The Training Process
Early on, while YOU are still checking your kiddo's food, start telling your child when his food might be hot: "Be careful--it might be hot! Check it with your finger." Teach them to blow on it themselves. It makes them happy when you blow on it together, so you'll likely have to do that first. You don't want them to spit, or blow too hard (and get food bits everywhere--gross!).
Once they're pretty good at that, if junior follows those directions well, work on this. If their food is too hot, they should start picking up forkfulls from the edge of the food (if it has more room, it will cool faster). Then they should blow on each bite 10 times before eating it, checking carefully with a finger at first to make sure it's not going to be too hot. This has the added benefit of counting! Yay for counting! If it's a little too hot still, they need to take a drink, just like we grownups do when our food is too hot.
We need LOTS of repetition when we're learning things, which kids are CONSTANTLY. So work on this every time you eat together and in no time, you'll just have to use the magical phrase.
It's beautiful and magical once you get them trained. Here's the phrase you can say and they know what to do:
You are responsible for the temperature of your food.
Sometimes, when it seems like no one is listening, I'll even get each individual kid's attention and repeat the magical phrase to them one by one. Then they know--their food is hot and they need to pay attention.
If this is a new process for you and you're not sure your kiddo will be excited, maybe a fun new plate will entice him or her? We love compartment plates by Zak Designs! They're dishwasher-safe, super high quality, and FUN!