Character Mats Encourage Picky Eaters
Parents of picky eaters want tips on how to help their little ones focus on mealtime (and actually eat!). As a Pediatric Feeding Specialist, one of my most successful feeding tips is to make food more exciting by having one of their child’s favorite characters join them for meals! That’s right, shift your child’s picky patterns with encouragement from Cookie Monster, Elmo or Peppa Pig (and work on some feeding milestones to boot)!
ezpz + Cookie Monster Mat: The Cookie Monster Mat will help your little one discover new tastes at mealtime. This adorable product has three compartments (two small and one large) that are perfect for dips and an entrée. Some fun food examples are a variety of berries with yogurt as a dip. Or, a mix of veggies with hummus as a dip. Plus, this product can help your toddler with the following feeding milestones!
Able to finger-feed soft foods: The stable base of the mat promotes self-feeding by keeping the plate in place so that the hand-to-mouth coordination is more effective. Encouraging babies and toddlers to be successful with finger foods can decrease picky eating tendencies.
- Able to use a raking grasp: The “raking grasp” (fingers [not thumb] rakes and holds food) is the first grasp babies use to pick up foods. It’s an essential skill that I often see babies give up on because they are discouraged when the plate moves every time they try to eat. That’s why using the ezpz mat decreases frustration for kids and helps them become independent eaters.
Able to use a true pincer grasp: You can encourage your little one to work on their “pincer grasp” (tips of index finger + thumb) during play, but also at mealtime. Have your tot practice this important skill by having them hold or dip foods into Elmo’s eyes + nose!
- Able to finger-feed soft foods: As your picky eater gets the hang of eating, you will find they will want more control at mealtime. All ezpz mats suction to the surface making self-feeding easier.
ezpz + Peppa Pig Mat: The ezpz + Peppa Pig Mat inspires positivity, sharing and adventurous eating at mealtime. Having an option to eat with Peppa can help kids learn about new flavors and diversify their food preferences in a fun way. Here are some developmental milestones the Peppa Pig mat can help with:
Able to point with index finger: Your toddler can learn to point (using their index finger) to foods on their plate and to show you Peppa’s ears, shoulders, nose, etc. during mealtime. This developmental skill is critical for feeding, language and cognitive development.
- Able to scoop food using a utensil: The suction feature of the mat helps toddlers successfully use a spoon + fork to scoop foods independently. Mess-free spoon-feeding doesn’t occur until around 18 months, so be patient during the learning process. And let the Peppa mat help keep the mealtime mess to a minimum while you endure the wait. Oink!
Making mealtime fun at the dinner table is the first step in shifting your child’s picky patterns. That’s why I love using Cookie Monster, Elmo and Peppa Pig to help our picky eaters succeed in their eating adventures. Be sure to download our FREE printable to track your little one’s milestones with these products! #ezpzfun
Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Dawn Winkelmann, a.k.a “Ms. Dawn”, has treated thousands of kids across the globe by helping families overcome picky eating stages and food refusals, while adding new foods into their diet. Her high success rate is attributed to Ms. Dawn bringing her education, experience, sense of humor and her favorite feeding products to the family dinner table.
You will find Ms. Dawn’s expert feeding advice to be positive and fun for the entire family! She adapts complicated feeding/swallowing research and makes it practical and easy for parents! Get ready to learn the science behind your favorite feeding products and ways to bring happy family mealtimes back!