Helping your child build essential skills at mealtime

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Just like with most adults, eating is a time of enjoyment for babies. Though, for your little one, it’s not just about the pleasant tastes and textures. You may find them gleefully flinging cereal on the floor or smearing apple sauce all over themselves and their chair.

All that fun serves a very important purpose. During mealtimes, babies practice essential skills and soak up new information like a sponge. Here’s our best advice for serving up plenty of learning, exploration, and play during every meal.

Building motor skills

It takes quite a bit of practice for babies to master the art of picking up food and putting it in their mouths. Every attempt helps further their physical development, strengthening their fine and gross motor skills.

The onset of self-feeding is a big milestone for your baby. Just make sure that your healthcare provider gives you the go-ahead before you start. Your baby will likely begin by grabbing bits of food with their fists, gradually move on to using their pincer fingers, then, finally, pick up their very first utensils. Be prepared for things to get messy — it’s not unusual for more food to wind up on the floor than in their mouth.

To give your child a little help while keeping cleanup to a minimum, we love the Busy Baby Mat. It’s the first-ever placemat to suction to surfaces while keeping babies’ toys and utensils attached. It’s made from 100% food-grade silicone, providing a non-slip surface that prevents food pieces from sliding so babies can get a better grip. Plus, the mat is easy to wipe down and dishwasher safe.

Developing social skills

Having your little one join the family for mealtimes can be an important bonding experience. And it allows your child to observe — and eventually mirror — mealtime rituals, habits, and manners.

But it’s not always easy to focus on your own plate when there’s a squirming or fussing child at the table. With the Busy Baby Mat, kids can go from food to toys without any essential items winding up on the floor. Thanks to the clever silicone tethers, you get to enjoy your meal while your baby is happily occupied — with no chance of their source of concentration ending up on the floor.

Not only will this keep you from bending over every five seconds during your meal, but it will also keep germs from the floor off the items your baby is sticking in their mouth. As you might imagine, these mats also come in handy on restaurant high chairs and grocery store shopping carts.

Sensing the world around them

New foods introduce new tastes, smells, and textures to your baby. Plus, the challenge of getting food from their tray to their mouth encourages problem-solving, visual tracking, and hand-eye coordination. Once your child has mastered self-feeding with their hands, it’s time to introduce a spoon that will make the transition to utensils easier — and less frustrating — for your baby.

The Busy Baby Teether and Training Spoon is made of safe, easy-to-grip silicone. And it attaches securely to the Busy Baby Mat, so it will never end up on the floor while your baby practices. The grips on the handle and spoon head make it easy for your baby to capture food, though not too much. And the soft, textured material makes the spoon soothing to chew when your baby is teething.

Easier for babies, easier for parents

Mealtimes are an adventure for you and your little one. With the Busy Baby Mat, you can encourage learning through exploration with as little effort as possible. Tap below to save 15% on your Busy Baby Mat with code OVIA15.

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