Independent Eating in Young Children

independent eating in young children

Teaching 3-year-old kids the right ways of feeding saves mommy-time and makes kids independent. Once your baby starts taking food, adopt these self-feeding tips for preschoolers. Begin early on. You will see him develop a fond bonding for food by self-feeding in style!

Parenting a preschooler is a full–time job that requires patience, hard work, and plenty of expert tips- right? This is especially true for those long-drawn meal times that make you sit and cajole your little one to finish. Given here are simple yet effective tips that teach your child how to eat independently and happily. Do keep your little one’s plate, spoon, fork, mess rug, eating chair, table, napkins, and some teaching time at hand!

Teaching Young Children to Eat Independently

1. Getting Seated

The first thing in helping kids to eat on their own is getting them seated comfortably and confidently. Invest in a high chair, or a set of baby chair and table for inculcating healthier eating habits and fun in your efforts. Remember to keep a mess rug under the chair. However hard you may try, you’ll have to deal with spills and droppings!

2. Give Choices- At Least a Few

Your three plus year old likes some food preparations and goes “ugh” at the mention of others. Respect his opinions and food preferences. Take mutual decisions regarding what to feed, the time spent on feeding, who does the feeding, and so on. Apart from giving your kid a sense of independence and control, you can also help him learn how to sample different foods, textures, and tastes in these sittings.

3. Keep Favourite Cutlery Ready

While learning to self-feed, children love to have their favourite eating aids at hand. Be it a brown wooden spoon with a wide curved handle for easy eats, or an acrylic multicoloured fork that keeps the attention away from boring food, you cannot ignore the need for such aids. Buy spoons with deep bowls and blunt forks that keep food from falling off.

4. Teaching The Use of a Fork

Once you have a safe child fork, try placing it on a plate foods like cheese, banana, chicken nuggets or other fruits that are easy to pierce. Noodles and pasta are soft too, but turn out to be messy as they tend to slip easily. Keep motivating and enabling correct eye-hand movements to stop fall-offs from the fork. These are some of the best ways of helping kids to eat independently and neatly.

5. Allow Space for Imitation

While helping your child practice self-feeding with easy-to-eat finger foods, try taking small bites alongside. Along with observing the right ways of eating at a table, your child will also learn the adorable art of lip-smacking and making cute faces while eating.

Worried about your kid lagging behind? Don’t. While your neighbour’s son can fluently eat a cabbage salad at 3-years of age, yours may take slightly longer. There is no single answer to the common query that goes “At what age does a child start eating independently?” Here, regular practice is what helps!