Transitioning through the ezpz Utensil Collection
By Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist & Feeding Specialist for ezpz
New parents often wonder when to transition their child to the next utensil for their age and stage of development. The Developmental Utensil Set makes it easy for parents to start with spoons, then introduce a fork, and finally practice with a training knife. With this set, your baby, toddler or preschooler will obtain their fine motor and utensil milestones safely and successfully!
Tiny Spoons: The Developmental Utensil Set starts with the Tiny Spoons for infants 4+ months. This baby-led spoon is designed for a baby’s tiny mouth and tummy. Here are some additional benefits of using this first utensil in the Developmental Utensil Set:
- Age Range: Babies 4-12 months
- Utensil Milestone: By 6 months of age an infant should bring their hands to their mouth while holding a spoon. The ezpz Tiny Spoon is the perfect utensil to help your little reach this first spoon-feeding milestone, as it has a short, fat, round handle that is easy to hold on to!
- How to Introduce these Utensils: Pre-load the spoon (scoop up the food) and hand it to your baby to put in their own mouth. While baby is eating with that spoon, get the second spoon ready, because your baby will quickly drop the first one and begin reaching for the second.
- Utensil Skill: Self-feeding with a pre-loaded, baby-led spoon.
Mini Utensils: The second set of utensils in the Developmental Utensil Set are the Mini Utensils, which consist of a larger spoon with a firmer spoon bowl and a fork.
- Age Range: Older Babies + Toddlers 12+ months
- Utensil Milestone: Independently scooping with a spoon between 15-18 months.
- How to Introduce these Utensils: The first step is to let your toddler become familiar with a fork. Let them hold it, play with it and mouth it without food first. This exploration time is critical in accepting this new utensil at mealtime. Then, at mealtime, pre-load the fork by piercing food for your tot and handing it to them. In no time, your little one will be piercing food independently!
- New Skill: Self-feeding with a pre-loaded fork and scooping with a spoon.
Happy Utensils: The next set of utensils in this developmental kit are the Happy Utensils. The Happy Utensils layer a new tool into your child's mealtime - a training knife! In addition, the set includes a more advanced spoon and fork with a slightly elongated handle that is sized for 2+-year-old hands. Learning how to use all three utensils safely and successfully are critical feeding milestones that support a child’s nutrition needs.
- Age: Older Toddlers + Preschoolers 24+ months
- Utensil Milestone: Independently uses fork to pierce by 36 months.
- How to Introduce these Utensils: Before introducing the training knife, make sure your tot is successful with their spoon and fork skills. These are the prerequisite skills needed before exploring a knife for spreading purees and cutting soft foods. Teach spreading skills with the training knife by having your child practice with both thick (cream cheese) and thin purees (jelly). To teach cutting skills, work with soft foods first like bananas, hard boiled eggs and canned green beans.
- New Skill: Using a training knife for spreading and cutting.
Self-feeding with utensils takes repetition and reinforcement. But if a parent introduces a baby-led spoon at 6 months with the Tiny Spoons and progresses through our Developmental Utensil Set, they will have a preschooler that can safely and independently use a spoon, fork and knife. If you use our Developmental Utensil Set with your little one, be sure to tag us in your mealtime pics! #ezpzfun
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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).