How to teach a one-year-old child to eat with a spoon and whether to allow him to eat with his hands


The first thing to do is slow down and allow enough time for meals. It takes a baby a lot of time to learn to feed himself with a spoon.

Think in advance what will help you calm down and control yourself. Watching your baby eat slowly and sloppily is torture. This is truly difficult and deserves as much respect as the child’s perseverance on his path to skillful independent feeding.
Where does mastering a spoon begin?

Wait until the child is hungry. If your child does not have a medical problem, it is important to give him the opportunity to get honest feedback so that he really feels hungry.

Then sit the child at the table. And in such a way that he himself can get up and leave, and give him something to eat. Place a spoon nearby and show with your example how to use it.

There is a difference between “allowing a child to eat porridge or vegetable puree with his hands” and “teaching him to eat porridge and vegetable puree with his hands.” You give your child examples of correct behavior, including at the table. You show by personal example how you can use cutlery and how you can eat while holding pieces of vegetables, fruits, and bread in your hand.

Using the hand to hold something and chew like a teether, or eat like a dryer, prepares the child for using a spoon, and this method of action begins to work better before eating with a spoon. The most difficult thing is to scoop with a spoon, so at a certain stage, babies often put food into the spoon with their hands, and then eat it with the spoon.

It is important to allow the child, firstly, to gain his own experience and draw his own conclusions (whenever possible, the only exception is dangerous experience), and secondly, to demonstrate his own developmental needs through interest in some experience and repeating it. This is achieved by a simple rule: we allow the child to do what he wants, if only we can afford it.

If you see that your baby is unable to eat with a spoon, and he tries to continue using his hand to puree, as he did for a piece of apple, let him notice that this is inconvenient. A spoon is not a burden, but a convenient tool, and the benefits of using a spoon for liquid food and a fork for small pieces can be easily noticed.
A complete algorithm for children to master a spoon and analysis of difficult situations in our mini-course “Eating by myself”

Include in the diet first of all those foods that your baby loves and do not offer large portions at once. Give for lunch something that can be easily eaten, even with your hand: potatoes, pasta, pie.

For dinner, you can make a high-calorie drink: kefir with fruit, smoothie or jelly - something that you can drink and get calories without putting in a lot of effort. For breakfast, offer healthy breakfast balls that the child can fill with milk, stir with a spoon, and fish out of the plate.

How to create a comfortable kitchen for your baby

Lifehacks for developing independence
A child needs time to feel the comfort of a spoon⠀

Give your child the opportunity to gain satisfaction from eating independently. Often children eat a few spoons, get tired of this difficult work, and begin to try some simpler ways that are easier to continue eating and rest. They themselves solve the problem that arises in front of them and solve it quite successfully. If at this moment you take away their spoon to feed them, then you are taking away their laurels as a winner and demonstrating the “I am being spoon fed” behavior, although this is not a typical behavior for adults.

If a child sees that you are better at feeding him than he is at feeding himself, then there is no reason to use a method that works worse. This is how children lose interest in improving their ability to use cutlery.

If the child already knows how to use a spoon, but after eating a little on his own, he asks to feed him. Most likely, a habit has already formed that you are feeding him. On the one hand, it’s easier for him. Or perhaps he simply gave up, seeing your great desire to feed him and your concern that he is not eating enough and is simply allowing you to feed him. The good news is that he feels his body and when he is full, he gives you a signal about it by closing his mouth.

You should start by trusting the child, his sense of hunger and satiety. Try to let him eat as much as he eats himself and do not feed him too much. If the child follows his feeling of hunger, then when he sees that you do not insist or try to feed him, he will eat on his own. Here you can also play it safe by preparing his favorite dishes at first.

And you can also try to mind your own business while he eats or start eating, setting an example for him. So that he can see that your hands are busy and you cannot feed him.
If a child starts playing with food

Most likely, at first the child will either leave the table or return again.

The first couple of times you can let him spin, but then we remove the food and say:

- If you're finished, I'll clear the table, next time we'll eat at lunch.

And if he shows with his appearance “I’m finished”

il,” then you believe him, even realizing that he did not make a completely informed decision.

As for spreading porridge on the table and other games with food. It is useful for the baby to somehow become minimally familiar with food and its properties, including tactilely. And you shouldn’t interfere with this at first.

If you see that the child is carried away by playing with food and has lost sight of the goal - to eat it, you tell him that this is not the way to do things. And a little later you offer a lesson based on the interest you saw:

     We don't paint with porridge, we paint with paints.
     We do not sculpt from crumbs, but we have at our disposal plasticine, salted dough for modeling, clay, ball plasticine, and many other materials.
     We don’t immerse our hands in a plate of puree, but we can play in the bathtub with water, we can wash our hands or dishes, or do laundry, exploring the behavior of water and soap suds in it, its temperature and consistency, we paint with finger paints, sculpt from snow, knead dough, etc.

Detailed article on how to set rules for kids

An adult has much more experience and imagination, so he can always offer the baby an acceptable way to gain the necessary experience of movements and sensations.

In particular, cooking opens up many opportunities for such manipulations with products that are not directly related to the actual process of eating, but provide a lot of interesting experiences and impressions. It is in such exercises that the child simultaneously learns to be more dexterous and skillful and develops functional independence, which will allow him to be more independent.

No reviews yet
Write your comment
Enter your comment*
100% quality guarantee
100% quality guarantee
14 days for return
14 days for return
Nationwide delivery
Nationwide delivery