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Turn young kids’ morning meal into a party with any of these brilliant breakfast ideas.

1. Invite a Furry Friend

Sue Johnson, co-author of Grandloving: Making Memories with Your Grandchildren (Heartstrings Press, 2006), encourages kids to bring a favorite stuffed animal to the table. That special “friend” provides an extra helping of security and comfort for little ones. (Tip: Put a bib on the companion as it sits beside your child.)

2. Make the Setting Special

Create a laminated place mat with contact paper featuring favorite family photos, Johnson suggests. Lively and colorful plates, bowls, and flatware enhance the dining experience, too.

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3. Focus on Presentation

Create a smiley face, a train, or a silly picture out of — yes — eggs, pancakes, bacon, or toast. Even better, let the kids make the design themselves. “The more ownership kids have over something, the more likely they are to eat it,” says Shannon Seip, co-author of Bean Appetit: Hip and Healthy Ways to Have Fun with Food (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2010).

4. Color Your Oatmeal

Prepare a bowl of oatmeal, and stir in a drop or two of food coloring, or let the kids add their own wild colors. Marvel at the artwork; then let them devour their rainbow-hue creations. (Tip: Toss in colorful strawberries or blueberries for extra flavor.)

5 tips for eating out with kids

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