Teaching Toddler to Use Spoon And/or Fork

Updated on June 09, 2010
N.L. asks from Saint Paul, MN
6 answers

My son is 15 months and I am ready for my little munchkin to start using his fork and spoon. Is this something he should know how to do already? We give him a fork and spoon with every meal at home (not sure what happens at daycare). When I put food on the fork, he can get it to his mouth, but he does not understand that it doesn't just magically get back onto fork. Any ideas on encouraging him or teaching him to use his utensils? We eat dinner as a family every night and we show him how we use our flatware. Is there anything else I can do?

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answers from Minneapolis on

I think it's just mostly time and practice that your little one needs :) And it can take a while. I think my daughter was 2 and still having some issues and I thought "sheesh, shouldn't she have this by now?" lol.

I think just helping him and showing him like you're doing will probably be fine :) And using utensils that are easy for him to handle that can hold on to the food :)



answers from Minneapolis on

We started with the spoon for things like his oatmeal and thickend up the oatmeal, so it wouldn't fall off. For the fork, we kept showing him how to poke, poke, poke and we said it too while we showed him. He would then try himself.

I actually found with most foods the plastic spoon forks work best for a lot of stuff, because he still is learning how to poke his food and keep it on. But he can usually scoop most food with the spoon/fork thing.


answers from Minneapolis on

Chances are, he uses silverware at daycare (if it is a center). If you're not sure, you can always ask. If they don't use it, you can ask them to start. That way, he is getting consistency between home and "school." You are doing exactly what is best to teach him how to use them. Just give them to him every night, and keep showing him how you use yours. He will get the idea.


answers from Minneapolis on

I think he will catch on when he is ready. But just a quick story, my daughter is almost 18 months and she just started getting better with a spoon about a month ago. I think what helped her a little is I brought her home a pail and shovel, and we were scooping her blocks into the pail with the shovel and she wanted to do it herself so she sat there for a really long time doing it. After that she was doing a lot better with her spoon when she ate. I've never given her a fork to try to eat with, but she is good with a spoon now. She still prefers her hands a lot of the time though.


answers from Charlotte on

If your toddler is having problems getting the food back on the fork/spoon or just problems holding the fork/spoon, try using the product Little Grips...look it up at littlegrips.com. They make feeding time less messy and they also build your toddlers confidence!



answers from Minneapolis on

Sit down with him and show him how to put the food on the fork and then the fork in his mouth. Maybe make a game with it or make it funny. Everytime you stab a piece of meat or something with the fork make a funny noise like beep beep. Then ask him to try it.

Some daycare centers are really good at teaching kids to use silverware and cups (not sippys) they usually start when the babies are transitioned over to the toddler room roughly around like 13-18mos.

I think it's totally normal and not the least bit unusual for a toddler to use their hands although we parents would like them to looks a little more mannered.

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