Getting My 2 Year Old to Eat on His Own

Updated on January 27, 2011
B.F. asks from Monaca, PA
7 answers

My son is turning 2 next week and he wont feed himself(not with utensils that is). He has very good motor skills and I know he understands meal time, but he wont feed himself. He'll use his fingers for cookies, bananas-that kind of stuff, but when it comes to real food, basically anything on a plate or in a bowl, he just stares at me expectantly. I know I've contributed to this problem by giving in and feeding him myself because either I dont have the time to wait around for him to eat or I feel bad and dont want him to be hungry. Anyone have any tips on how to get him to start feeding himself? He has his own utensils but doesnt seem interested in trying.

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answers from Washington DC on

I would give him his own kid-sized silverware and plate, etc, just like everybody else and just see what he does. If he uses fingers, so be it. My daughter will often put food on her spoon by hand and then eat it.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Get him his own kiddie utensils.
Put it out when it is meal time.
Tell him he is a big boy and just to try his best.
He does not have to be perfect about it.
Many 2 year old boys... are still such messy eaters.
Just let him explore with it and try. His best.
Some kids won't try because they think they won't do it good enough.
At this age, they are not expert at it yet.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from New York on

Ice cream and a spoon... Ice cream is very cold to eat with fingers and too good to ignore

1 mom found this helpful


answers from York on

This sounds a lot of my 2 1/2 year old but I can't say I think it is that big a deal. He feeds himself some bites and I feed him some bites in between. I figure he will eat an entire meal on his own when he is ready. He usually sits nicely on a chair at the table and even holds small conversations with his dad and me as we eat dinner. I think his table skills are pretty good. I wouldn't worry about this so much....but that is just me.



answers from Allentown on

One idea to try that I have seen be successful within my work is "backward chaining". Self-feeding is broken down into steps. Work from the end of the task to the beginning.
1. Feed him hand over hand.
2. Once he lets you do this for a while, then you do all of the steps with him but encourage him do the LAST one himself. In other words, you scoop the food, put it up to his mouth, in his mouth, then when he closes his mouth on the spoon let go, so he now has to remove the spoon from his mouth on his own. Lots of praise. Do this until he really gets the hang of it. 3. Next, you do all of the steps with him except for the last TWO steps. Hand over hand with him, scoop (or stab, depending on the food), bring it up to his mouth, let go of his hand and let him do the last two steps on his own.
4. Now, when he is doing well with that, hand over hand to help him scoop (or stab food) and as he is bringing it up to his mouth let go of his hand so he can complete the motion on his own.
5. Now see if he can do all of the steps on his own.

Good Luck


answers from New York on

Put his food on a plate on his tray or on the table for him and walk away. Check on him in 5 minutes. Do this for about 20 minutes and then take away his plate. Once he realizes that he is not going to be fed and his food will go bye bye, he will eat on his own.



answers from Pittsburgh on

Give finger foods and kid untensils and DO NOT feed him. When he gets hungry, he will eat. You can load the spoon or fork, but he must put it to his mouth. Tell him you think he is a big boy and you know he can do it. (And don't cave and do it for him!) Good luck!

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