Toddler Emotions at Mealtimes
By Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
Sometimes a toddler doesn’t have problems with food, it’s their feelings about food that causes the hesitation at mealtime. A child who becomes emotional when two foods touch each other or screams when a brightly colored veggie is placed on his plate is communicating his feelings.
To help with emotions at mealtime here are a few tips:
- For a certain type of eater, food is emotionally driven by textures, temperature, smells, colors and even how it is presented. Try to keep at least one of these features consistent – like having the Happy Mat for all meals.
- I have had success with these types of eaters by talking about their feelings surrounding food. 'I’m mad' 'I’m scared' and 'I’m frustrated' are common themes. I make food art with my clients that depicts these emotions. Food art can be a fun way to get kids feeling curious about a new food, which is the first step to eating it! Check out our cute Bell Pepper food art showing some fun emotions. Food art is an excellent conversation starter at mealtime!
Dawn Winkelmann (M.S, CCC-SLP) is ezpz’s Pediatric Speech-Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has 26 years of experience teaching parents and medical professionals how to start babies on solids safely and encourage toddlers to overcome picky eating. In addition, “Ms. Dawn” is the designer of our award-winning Tiny Cup & Tiny Spoon (for infants) and the Mini Cup + Straw Training System & Mini Utensils (for toddlers).