35 answers

1 Year Old Who Will Only Use His Hands Not His Utensils to Eat With.

Hello Ladies
Dinner time at my house has been a struggle or me getting to eat doesnt alway happen because
I have a 1 year old son that I had bought utensils that were made for small hands, and mouth so he would be more comfortable to eat with them , and also for him to learn how to use instead of him using his hands to eat. I want him to learn the concept now because his mind is still fresh and he can learn things easier at a young age like this, but it also for the fact its soemthing he needs to learn so that he is not using his hands when he gets older, also I want to be able to take him out to eat at resturants with me but dont want to because I get stared at when see hes using his hand and not his utensil ,its like these people think im a bad parent for this , but im not because I have insited and been continuing to put his utensils at the table every meal we sit down to eat, I have showed him countless times how to use them by putting it in his left hand and showing him how to use the utensil I even have showed him this how mommy does it lets try and see if you want to use your utensil properly, but he always puts it down and uses his hands instead, im not sure if he understands or is just having a hard time with this. I get fusturated and want to give up but I dont because I really want him to learn this skill. Im just wondering if anyone has advice or tips that they have used or heard how to fix my issue so I could at least eat a quiet hassle free dinner with my son for a change without this struggle , it would be greatly appreciated thank you

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you all so much for the good advice that you gave me
I now know that hes only 1 and im going to be more relaxed with him on this issue with him using his utensils and not force him to use them he will learn that skill properly later on with my encouragement and me teaching him how to use them properly , for now im going to stop freaking out and let him make a mess with his hands because now I know that its a stage that he is just learning his motor skills by using his hands, im not going to stop totally but im going to take my time and have patients with my son so he wont be afraid of using the utensils later on.
again thank you all so much for that advice it was really helpful.

Featured Answers

A 1 year old, at this age does not have the hand cordination to hold a utensil and "scoop" up his food onto the utensil. I would give him plenty of more time. Eating with his hands at this age is important. He is learning independence by feeding himself-even if its with his hands and learning how to pick up small objects. Keep giving him the utensils though, he will eventually try them on his own. It is completely normal to eat with his hands at one. Good luck.

I also have a one year old and I work with children. I think that you can relax a little bit about expecting him to eat with utensils at this age. You have already introduced the concept and have them available at every meal, eventually he will decide to try them out. You can also have him decorate large handled utensils to make them his own with stickers ect. and buy a bowl with a raised edge to help him get food on the spoon. You will probably just want him to start with the spoon because his skill for fork use is not yet refined. I would try not to make it a struggle because then he may loose all interest or worse start to fight you more. You may want to have him help you cook in the kitchen, stirring and helping mix things with his hands are great fine motor skill builders. You can also get games that build his fine motor skills, look for fun things that he will see as a game. Have fun with him while he eats and try not to worry too much what others think!

My daughter is 15 months and holds/tries to use utensils, but isn't ready yet. I don't think it's a big deal at all, and know that she's not going to use her hands forever, so I'm not at all concerned. I give her a spoon and rounded tined fork at most meals but I'm not going to push her. Try not to be affected by others staring and maybe let him go at his own pace. I don't know what the age is that kids start using them properly as my daughter is my first, but I think 1 is way early to worry. Practice makes perfect, I would just keep showing him how to use them, or maybe take a break for a week or two and try again.

Good luck!

More Answers

Oh dear S., who told you a one year old was capable of eating with utensils? And why should you be concerned what others think of your mothering? If you feel as if you are doing your best then you are fine.
Good grief, the child should still be at breast.
Put the spoon.(.oh we have a wonderful spoon with an offset bowl so what he gets on it he can get into his mouth,) dont force the left/right handed issue, at his age he should be ambidextrous..bit later put a baby fork down. In about six months maybe.
You can put the spoon into his hand (either one) and take up a bit of food and direct it towards his mouth..then let him be and experiment by himself. I wonder that the child eats at all, it must be very stressful for him to have you "at him" all during the meal about something he doesnt understand and is not capable of using. RELAX
Mostly at one year old finger foods is the food of choice.
Turn your head away if you cant stand to watch him. Its all a part of the growing/learning process honey. I havent seen many four or five year olds still eating with their fingers when their mums have given them spoons and forks to use.
I am amazed to see on Mamasource how sophisticated many mums expect their babies to be at way too young ages.
He will learn faster by himself, really...but you can try putting the FIRST spoonful in his mouth. Then let his brain work for him. When he is ready to eat with fork and spoon , he will.
Tincture of time and patience is needed here.
Wishing you the best and God bless
Grandmother Lowell

1 mom found this helpful

I think you may have very high exectations for your 1 year old son. It's admirable that you want him to learn how to eat properly, but at only 1 year old he probably isn't ready for this skill. Some kids will still choose to eat with their fingers up to 3 years of age! If you push this too much with your son he may become very frustrated because he just isn't capapble of holding a spoon or fork at his age. It's more natural for kids to eat with their fingers vs. using a utensil. Don't worry about people judging your parenting skills in a restaurant - I don't know of any small children who can feed themselves with spoon at this age. It seems like an unrealistice goal.

Hi,
I have 4 kids of my own, and have been in Early Childhood Education for over 20 years. As much as you would like your son to use utencils, it is completely developmentally appropriate at this age to use his hands. It is good practice fpr his fine motor skills to manipulate little pieces of food and manage to get them into his mouth. Just keep making the utencils available to him, and he will eventually begin to use them. I wouldn't force the issue or stress over it. Good Luck

S.-

He is only one. Children that age do not have the dexterity to do that yet. Developmentally he is just not there yet... like most his age. I would continue to show him and praise him when he does it. We have a 1 year old and she will hold a fork.. that is it. He will get there in his own time. Try to be patient. As far as going out to eat goes, I would bib him up and bring lots of wipes.
Good luck.
E.

My daughter is 15 months and holds/tries to use utensils, but isn't ready yet. I don't think it's a big deal at all, and know that she's not going to use her hands forever, so I'm not at all concerned. I give her a spoon and rounded tined fork at most meals but I'm not going to push her. Try not to be affected by others staring and maybe let him go at his own pace. I don't know what the age is that kids start using them properly as my daughter is my first, but I think 1 is way early to worry. Practice makes perfect, I would just keep showing him how to use them, or maybe take a break for a week or two and try again.

Good luck!

My son is 16 months old and just started really using a spoon so far. Don't rush it. It may take some time. Just keep feeding him with the spoon and one day he'll grab it out of your hand like my son did and started feeding himself, "Hey Mom, I can do this, give me that!" Ha ha.

He's one, I wouldn't worry too much about it. My son will be three in February and I am just now in November of this year clamping down on him about using his utensils.

Always offer them to him, have him use them for a few bites at least, and then allow him to eat how he is comfortable. You have to remember that the coordination of a one year old is not the best, and how frustrating it is to eat when you're hungry and at the same time be uncomfortable or have to take such small mouthfuls. Sometimes kids just want to shove it in. Not to mention that the messages we ourselves send with food are confusing.

I bet he's allowed to use his hands for crackers and raisins, but then not pasta? And where do you stand on chicken nuggets, fork or no? Nope, it's just not developmentally appropriate for a 1 year old to always use utensils like an adult would.

Things like that will come. But the time to worry about refusing to use utensils is more like 3 or 4... he's still a baby right now... I hope that helps. Stuff like that is never worth sweating. :D

EDIT: OOPS! I responded off the email and didn't see you had already responded! I'm glad you'll ease up on him. Trust me, mealtimes are much more enjoyable without the frustration. :D Happy munching!

My youngest is going to be 4 and she still uses her hands. No big deal, at least she is eating! When we go to restaurants, I usually order her food she can use with her hands anyway........don't worry about it, he is only 1!

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