My 13 Mo Old Sees His Spoon as a Toy

Updated on April 02, 2008
G.H. asks from Tulsa, OK
9 answers

I have a 13 month old who won't use his spoon. When I give it to him he thinks it is a toy and will put food on it but won't raise it to his mouth. I've tried using new spoons and showing him how to use it but it doesn't help. Any suggestions? Will he eventually use it or will I have to continue to feed him myself? He's always been extremely aware of everything that's going on but has been slow to do things, crawling, crusing, etc. He's not walking yet but has taken a few steps here and there. He's never held his bottle or has taken ownership of it either which has suprised me. I know I've probably done too much for him but now I have to make some changes. I'm expecting a little girl in the beginning of August and need him to be more self-sufficient. Thank you for your help!

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answers from Springfield on

My son will be 15 months and he does the same thing with his spoon. He knows what it is for but he likes to put his food on it and then bang it on his tray and smear it around! Give him some time. Boys take a little longer to do things than girls. My son still wants his bottle and didnt really start walking till he was 13 months. My daughter is 4 1/2 and she was walking by 10 months, off the bottle before her first birthday and feeding herself with a spoon at one. Every child is different. Kids learn by playing. Just keep giving him the spoon and some not so messy food like cherrios to practice with and he will get it.

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answers from Kansas City on

Hey there, just a thought here. If you have helped him always to do these things, you cannot rush him to just decide to do it himself. I personally dont think him eating with a spoon is a huge deal. What my children did was learn on their own. You can give him the spoon, but you cant fource his learing. So you give him the supper, and the spoon, and if he chooses to use his hands, then let him. Eventually he will choose to try the spoon. They do watch what we do, and do what we do, more than what we say. Dont feel rushed! he's not that old, plus, if he is having issues with other areas, you might test him for a slow disablilty with a phscologist. I hope it helped some! Dont give up and dont get rusterated!!



answers from Columbia on

The advice I got was to take away the spoon as soon as he/she starts playing with it. You can try giving it back periodically if you think he is settling but take it back as soon as playing starts. It worked with our son, he began to see the spoon as a privelege (since he sees us eating with one and of course wants to model us) So my husband and I would eat in front of him and make a big deal of using our spoons and really praise him when he took a bite with it instead of playing. Also make sure you try many different kids utensils-my son would eat with some but have a more difficult time with others. Either way, they do grow out of this phase! :)



answers from St. Louis on

The way I got my son to use his spoon, stand behind him and have him hold the spoon and show him how to pick food up with it and bring it to his mouth, you will have to show him each time at every mealtime, he will get it eventually. My son did.

Good Luck


answers from Kansas City on

It's still early for him to be using a spoon, so it's perfectly normal that he thinks it's a toy. He'll get the idea... just let him continue to explore it and experiment. This isn't a milestone they're expected to reach until they are 17-18 months old. So, he just might have it down by the time your little girl arrives.

Editing to add: You might want to try a fork instead. My daughter won't use a spoon, but she occasionally uses a fork. I just showed her how to "stab" the food to get it in the fork. It's a little easier because they don't have to worry about the food falling off if they can just stab it.



answers from Topeka on


As most of the posts have said, he will get the hang of it in time - no worries! You might back off on the spoon and try bringing it back in a week or two.

It sounds like some of your concern is your son learning to be more self sufficient. You didn't mention if he feeds himself things like cereal and crackers? I have done a lot of finger-food style meals for my girls (who are 18 mos apart). Things like chopped, cooked ham, green beans, peas, chopped up fruit, cheese cubes, even scrambled eggs with cheese, etc. That way you don't always have to be on hand with a spoon during mealtimes. And transitioning to sippy cups as well.

There are so many changes and transitions he'll experience in the next few months, you'll be amazed how different he is by August! But take it in small steps, give him opportunities, and he will take advantage of them and be demanding to "do it myself" in no time!



answers from Kansas City on

13 months is not late at all, don't worry - he'll get it when he's ready! my son is 18 months, and even though he has been early on everything (walking at 9 months for example, and at 18 months saying over 100 words), he still rarely uses silverware, and we just roll with it. i got a little baby set of a fork and a spoon, and personally i found the fork to be a lot easier, since the food doesn't slide off, if you spear it. he will feed himself every time if i load up the fork for him, but is just now learning to stab the food himself. he has absolutely no interest in a spoon! one thing that has helped my son, you probably already do this, but we eat dinner as a family and i see him watching my hubby and i as we eat. (also to check out what we have! lol) also, like one of the other ladies, i almost always give my son mostly "finger" foods - noodles, rice, fruits, veggies, breads. almost anything. i don't give him a lot of things like mashed potatoes or puddings, that would require a spoon. works just great for us - good luck!



answers from Columbia on

Yeah I totally agree with all the other responses. I've been through this 5 times now & that's a perfectly normal stage. My "baby" is almost 3 & only very recently started using a spoon. We'd let him play with them during play time. We'd actually occasionally give him play time in his high chair after a meal or for a few minutes separate from a meal (when he wasn't hungry) & would give him a spoon and an empty bowl. That was how he got comfortable with the idea of a spoon. For a long long time (too long it seemed but it did pass) he would ONLY eat finger foods but he would let us feed him with a spoon (usually). But finally he got to the point where we could hand him a bowl of food & he would actually eat it with the spoon. (Although spoons are also amazingly good at flinging food across the room so we still have to gauge his mood very closely before handing him a bowl & spoon!) And forks are great at combing messy food through his hair. Not to mention that his hair is a very convenient napkin for messy baby hands!

All the joys of this age. Believe me, you'll miss it someday!

It definitely WILL pass. You won't still be spoon-feeding him when he's dating, or even when he's 5. But all kids have their own schedules - there's no reason to rush it!




answers from Kansas City on

I'll have to agree with the group here that it will come in time :).

I have had four go through this (the baby is just 6 months and not getting solids yet)and they all eventually pick it up at some point, though now I'd be hard pressed to say when it was.

In our house one gets to eat solid food when one puts it in ones own mouth LOL. The whole baby food thing is pretty much just a marketing gimmick. Sometime between 6 and 12 months (give or take a couple of months) babies develop the hand eye coordination to pick up soft finger foods (fruit, cooked veggies) and get them to their mouths. You can just hand them the appropriate type of food off of your meal plate and let them play with it. Hand them a spoon at the same time and they can experiment.

Solid food is mostly supposed to be just for fun at this age :)

He's also not really slow for walking at this point either. Some kids are just more naturally cautious - look at it this way, he probably won't be the four year old insisting the street is safe because he can outrun cars!

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