10 answers

How to Teach a Toddler to Eat with Utensils?

Our son is 15 months old and his pediatrician says we can start teaching him how to eat with utensils. What are some ways you moms have taught your kids to eat with spoons and forks?

My son is walking, uses a sippy cup with ease, can stoop to pick up an object without losing his balance, and seems interested in learning how to use utensils. He always watches me and hubby use them when we eat. If we put food on a spoon and give the spoon to him, he'll grab the handle and move the spoon to his mouth (quite accurately, surprisingly). However, if we set a bowl of food in front of him and give him a spoon, he'll grab at the food with his free hand and eat that way. We've tried guiding the spoon into the bowl while he's holding it then letting him guide the spoon to his mouth, and he'll repeat the motion once or twice successfully (and we give him praises for that) but then he'll just go back to eating with his hands. Any suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

YOu may want to try a fork. It is easier for them to get the food on the fork then spoon. They have baby forks that are safe to use.

More Answers

I don't have a lot of advise, but try using the Nubby fork and spoon. Since I started feeding my daughter solids I always gave her a spoon and let her play with it, so using the spoon and fork have not been an issue for us. The biggest issue has been being able to keep the food on the spoon or fork. The Nubby spoon and fork have a curved handle and are much easier for her to handle. I hope this helps.

YOu may want to try a fork. It is easier for them to get the food on the fork then spoon. They have baby forks that are safe to use.

I introduced both of my girls to utensils before they turned one, and my younger daughter is 20 months and is a pro now! Just let him dive right in! Applesauce, yogurt (they make the thicker kind, which is a ton easier to do), oatmeal. If you're a little afraid of the mess, start with dry Cheerios, and let him spoonfeed himself those. It will come in time! Good luck!

I can't remember when my daughter started using a spoon but I started her on yogurt (yoplait kids is thicker and works great for beginners) at breakfast. She picked up on the concept pretty quickly. I would guide her to pick up the yogurt with the spoon then bring it to her mouth. Then I just let her go on her own. The whole process can be a bit messy but personally I think it's better for them to just let them go and play with the utensils and food. The idea of a spoon came a lot easier than a fork for my daughter and I have heard other moms say the same thing. We liked spoons and forks made by "the first years" which you can get at babies r us and meijer. They are shorter and easier to handle. Good luck and just remember to be patient. :)

Just give him the spoon and or a fork designed for toddlers and put some food in front of him, he may make a huge mess at first, but eventually, he'll figure it out. Let him watch you and your husband, my daughter (20 months) grabbed the fork out of her brother's hand about 4 months ago, stabbed a piece of her chicken and actually made it into her mouth. Good luck!

C.; you are doing the right thing, you give him the utensil while he is eating, he will try but fail many many times, its ok, he will eventually use it, when his coordination is better, for now you can put the food on the utensil, and you guide it in his mouth, with his little hand on it, he will let go many times and eat with his hand its ok, they dont get these things right aways, it can take months, its ok, he will get it, you are doing the right thing ,keep going and be patient,you have lots more in his life to teach him, he has lots more to learn, hahaha hang in there, and keep doing what you are doing, have fun and enjoy, D. s ps keep up the good work at being a stay at home mom, it will pay off, and i am hooked on soduko myself,and i also taught my kids sign language, i would sing the alphabet to them and sign each letter as i went, they picked it up really fast, keep going, !!!

He doesn't sound too interested. My daughter wasn't really either. It took her a long time to pick up food and feed herself, and then a long time to even try the spoon. It was probably when she was 19 months old before she did it for the first time, and then only with things like cream of wheat that kind of stuck to the spoon.

I didn't feel a need to rush it, and now she's timid about eating with her fingers and gets angry when we try to feed her with a spoon (which at time is necessary). Its also a LOT messier. BUT all that said, my friend didn't allow her daughter to eat with a spoon until she felt she was ready to not be messy and then regretted it, as she showed no interest in doing it on her own.

Try to get your cues from him. Give him one to use and if he ignores it, don't get frustrated, maybe make a game of using it. Eventually he'll want to do it and be ready. Every child is ready for these developmental things at different times. Best wishes!

Hi C.,

My daughter will be 16 months at the end of the month. I started giving her a spoon several months ago because she wanted to do it herself. In actuality she just wanted to HOLD the spoon. Anyway, even though she has been "handling" a spoon for several months she still only occassionally actually gets food in her mouth. Quite honestly, this question never even was raised by her pediatrician at her 12 or 15 month appointment.

Just continue to let him play with it. My daughter tends to just like to stab at her food with it while I feed her the cereal. We don't do any other purees, so most of her food she eats with her fingers anyway. I wouldn't worry too much about it. Sounds like your little guy is doing well and developing as he should. Don't let doctors scare you.

I really feel too many doctors do not look at the individual child, but instead look at the median for the developmental milestones. Consequently they often scare parents into thinking their child is somehow lacking.

Let him continue to play, help him from time to time and he will get it. Good job mommy! You're doing great!

Just give him the sppon and let him figure it out by watching you... Our 20 month old still eats with his hands sometimes... But he now has the ability to at least get some food on the spoon and to his mouth. He still ends up with a lapful sometimes but he's practicing. Trial and error...

It sounds like you are doing everything right. He will pick it up in bits and spurts. Keep putting food on the spoon or fork when you see it empty. Don't stress, this is something that they will just want to do more of. My 20 month old can eat with a fork, and tries and then uses the other hand to pick stuff up, it's just faster, he goes back and forth between bites. That's okay too, because they are still working on their fine motor skills by picking things up with their fingers.

Sounds like he is right on track, just keep helping him.

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