The skill of self-feeding is something that comes with a looot of practice and time. Want to accelerate the process? Here are a few practical recommendations for parents on how to teach toddler eat with spoon.
Make Sure Your Son/Daughter Is Ready
How to evaluate kid’s readiness for self-feeding? As a rule, toddlers start paying attention to utensils at the age of 9-17 months. By the age of 2, they’re confident eaters, though many master self-feeding at the age of 1. So as soon as you see the first attempts to hold and use the spoon – go on! If your little one stays ignorant to self-feeding, evoke the interest by giving a spoon during meals and games.
Prepare For A Mess
Food will be everywhere – deal with it. Prepare the place for eating somewhere you can easily clean around. Use a rug under kid’s chair, and use a smock, or leave your kid without a shirt.
Here are three things you’ll need:
- Bib with a deep pocket to catch the food that doesn’t make it to toddler’s mouth.
- Spoon/fork with a short rubber handle. It should be rather shallow.
- Bowl or plate with rubber bottom edge to stay on its place. It should have a moderate depth for a kid to scoop the food conveniently.
Start With ‘Convenient Foods’
Try oatmeal, mashed potatoes, or any other semi-sticky foods that stick to spoon well and doesn’t easily fall. Liquid foods (soups) and something runny (rice, peas) are not a good option. Otherwise, your kid will be easily frustrated and discouraged.
Make It A Yummy Experience
How to teach toddlers eat with spoon when you give them so-much-hated broccoli and veggies? Don’t spoil the experience: 99% of kids are picky eaters and won’t touch utensils until offered something tasty. Serve cereal or cream yogurt – they will tease the appetite for learning!
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One Spoon Is Good, Two Spoons Are Better
To encourage toddlers, give them their own spoon while you’re busy feeding. More likely, the kid will seize the initiative and try to feed oneself. At least, your toddler won’t stay hungry after such attempts!
Doesn’t Work? Try Hand-Over-Hand Technique
The first attempts at self-feeding might be pretty awkward. Help the toddler by putting your hand over theirs: teach how to scoop foods and make the way to the kid’s mouth.
Be A Good Example!
How to teach toddler eat with spoon faster? Serve as an example! When you’re eating, let the kid see how you hold the tableware and put food in your mouth. A rare toddler will resist mimicking your behavior.
Make It A Ritual
Help kid set the right mood: prepare the chair, napkins, put on an apron – let the kid see it’s ‘yum-yum’ time! Feed your children when they’re hungry, but try sticking to a schedule.
Time For A Fork
Once your little one masters the spoon, you can try to do to the same thing with a fork. This time, the learning curve will be smoother but choose a different type of foods – something ‘stabable’. Piece of soft vegetables, chicken nuggets or cheese will do.
Praise, Praise, Praise!
Commend your kid for every successful effort made. Support your little one and step by step, they will master the skill of self-feeding.
Be patient, stay consistent, and soon you will congratulate your kid with the first plate eaten without parents’ help. Good luck!