Teaching Preschoolers to Use Forks and Spoons
Many parents wonder, when should kids start using eating utensils like spoon, fork etc.? Although there’s no fixed age, the sooner your child learns self-feeding, the better it is for you and your little one. Here are a few tips for developing spoon and fork skills in your kid.
Children enjoy doing things on their own like taking off their shoes, wearing their favourite T-shirt, and yes, also eating by themselves. Parents play a crucial role in helping preschoolers reach this important milestone. As little ones need some training in getting acquainted with eating using a spoon or fork, parents need to invest in kid’s cutlery to help them eat the right way.
Ways to Get Your Child To Use Forks and Spoons
Associate and Assist
Give your child smooth-edged plastic spoons to play with. Encourage her to try taking the spoon to her mouth. As soon as she achieves this, try scooping some food onto the spoon. Start with little quantities. This way, she will get associated with eating small bites and using a spoon at the same time.
Types of Spoons
Parents often wonder which kind of spoon to introduce to their kids. To begin with, opt for a high-quality, smooth-edged plastic or rubber spoon. Even wooden spoons are good. Just do a thorough check that there are no wooden splinters. At the learning stage, it’s best to avoid silver or steel spoons as they might hurt the little one’s gums. Also, metal spoons might get too hot or too cold for your child and should be kept away.
Introduce Forks with Soft Foods
After your kid is comfortably using a spoon while eating, introduce forks to her. Show her how to poke into soft food items like cheese, banana, boiled potatoes, etc. with a fork. Initially, she will get confused between using a fork and spoon, and she might try to use her fork the way she uses a spoon. Worry not; with practice she’ll figure out the difference.
What’s Good to Eat, What’s Not!
While teaching how to use cutlery, don’t give your child really large pieces or too tiny ones to begin with. Medium sized, light bites are good. The best option is to give semi-sticky foods like porridge to your little one when she begins eating food with a spoon. Small chunks of fruits, noodles, etc. help kids get habituated with forks. Basically, foods that don’t fall off the spoon easily or are easy to eat with a fork help in developing preschooler’s self-feeding skills.
Distraction-free Zone is a Must
Learning to eat with a spoon or fork requires focus. When teaching children how to use fork and spoon, use a distraction-free space. If there are any toys or other objects on the table, they might easily divert your child’s attention. Try to reduce her frustration when using such aids, especially when she manages to spill more than eat!