Get your toddler to feed himself/herself
Once your child is 12-18 months old, he can start learning how to feed himself. Finger foods are easy to begin with. Children first use their fingers to pick and eat food. Gradually, they move on to using spoons and forks. Here are some tips to help your child feed himself:
Children love to do what they see. Use toy utensils and pretend to eat from them. Feed yourself using a toy spoon and ask your child to repeat the same.
Hold your child’s hand and help him hold a spoon and feed himself. This helps children associate a spoon with eating and also helps develop fine motor skills.
The right sized utensils
Don’t give your child an extra-large spoon or fork and expect him to eat with it. Buy kid friendly utensils for your toddler and make sure he is able to hold the spoon/fork properly while eating.
Don’t’ pile up his plate
Put only small amounts of food in your child’s bowl/plate. All children are messy eaters. If you put too much of food in his plate, he may end up dropping it rather than eating it.
Be prepared for a mess
It takes a while for toddlers to develop their motor skills for feeding themselves. They need a lot of practice. During this time, they may make a mess of their food while learning how to eat. Be prepared for this.
Give foods that are easy to handle
What do you think is going to happen if you give your toddler a bowl of soup or cornflakes in milk and ask him to feed himself? He will be drenched in milk from head to toe by the end of the process and probably get cranky and cry. Give your child easy to handle foods like diced apples, cut vegetables, nuggets etc.
Clap and praise your child each time he picks something from his plate and puts it in his mouth, or each time he is able to scoop some food in his spook/fork and take it to his mouth.
An extra spoon
Every time you feed your child, allow him to hold a spoon in his hand too. He will love to try and eat with it.
Children don’t like it when they get dirty with food. They tend to get cranky and stop eating. They like it to be wiped off. Use bibs to prevent your child’s clothes from getting dirty.
One step at a time
Don’t expect your little one to start using spoons and forks at the same time. Children first eat with their fingers. After that, you can teach your child how to use a spoon. Once he has learnt how to hold and eat with a spoon, you can teach him how to use a fork.
When your child is learning to feed himself, there are very high chances that he may choke on his food. Make sure you supervise him at all times.