How to teach a baby to use cutlery?

Teaching your baby to use cutlery is much more than just helping him develop manual dexterity. With this learning, the importance of observing customs and living in community is also transmitted.

Last update: 21 September, 2022

Teaching a baby to use cutlery is a process that goes through daily experimentation and the development of different motor skills. It doesn’t happen overnight and it can take a while for you to fully achieve it.

When the baby learns to use cutlery, he gains a lot in autonomy. This strengthens their self-esteem, their independence, and their ability to relate to others at the table. It is, without a doubt, a great conquest for the little one.

The best thing is that the baby learns to use cutlery gradually. First, you will have to deal with the spoon, which is the easiest and least dangerous implement to use. Then, the fork will be introduced and, later, when he is older, he will be able to use the knife.

When to teach him to use cutlery

At the beginning of complementary feeding, it will be you who helps the baby to eat. Little by little, you will be able to start using the spoon.

Between 4 and 6 months, the stage begins in which the little one can take semi-solid foods and solid. The usual thing is that, in this phase, the child puts everything in his mouth. When the plate with the food is presented to him, he will try to take it in his hand and eat it.

This age is a good time to start showing him the cutlery, but don’t expect much progress. Between 6 and 10 months, it is very normal for the little one to take food with his handspass it everywhere and only a small part reaches his mouth.

Between 10 and 15 months, he is already able to hold a spoon, but most likely you won’t be very skilled at using it. Each child has their own rhythm, but it is usual that they finally learn to use cutlery in the period between 18 and 24 months.

The type of cutlery

To teach a baby to use cutlery, it is best to start with the spoon and, a little later, with the fork. The most advisable is use cutlery made of a soft material that does not contain any type of toxin.

Obviously, cutlery should be chosen according to the size of the baby’s hands and mouth. Also, it is very important that they have rounded tips so that you do not hurt yourself when using them.

could be very convenient choose cutlery in bright colors or that have a design with their favorite character. That usually arouses their curiosity and puts excitement into this new learning. He may spit out the spoon at first, which is normal. We have to give time to the time.

How to teach the baby to use cutlery

To teach the baby to use cutlery, it is best to start by giving her a couple of plastic spoons to play with. This will help you get familiar with this new object and begin to see it as part of your daily routine.

It is best to start very soft foods with the spoon, such as purées or soft vegetables. The tip of the spoon should be put in his mouth, only if he opens it to receive the food. If you get all of it, you may gag and vomit.

It is best to tilt the spoon into the baby’s mouth so that the food falls out. Then remove it slowly and carefully. If the little guy closes his mouth, it’s time to stop. You should never force him to eat with a spoon.

Other points to consider are the following:

  • It is better to put a bib and have wipes and sponge on hand. At first, it can be a disaster.
  • From 12 months, it is good to let him try to eat alone. It won’t be easy for him. Most likely, by the age of 2 he can only eat without staining anything.
  • The most indicated is give him a plate with a small amount of food. This will make everything more manageable for him.
  • show you by example. It may be a good idea to also take a spoon and eat in front of him so that he assimilates the movements that he must make.
  • When you have some skill with a spoon, you can add a fork.

Some important tips

Around the age of two, your child will probably be able to feed himself without inconvenience, although still with some clumsiness.

Teaching your baby to use cutlery is a process that requires patience. It will be a while before she develops enough dexterity to eat by herself without making a mess. In no case should he be pressured to move faster.

What must be done is calmly insist that he use his spoon and praise him whenever he succeeds. It is very important that the little one understands that this is an important advance and that his evolution is worth celebrating.

It is a good idea for parents to let the baby feed them, just as they do with him. This will help him better understand the action and teach him that it is a valid social behavior for everyone.

Be patient: your baby will learn over time

Good table manners should only be introduced after the baby has learned to use cutlery. It doesn’t make sense to do it before. It is a progressive evolution that in some children takes longer and in others, less.

When he reaches 3 or 4 years old, he can be taught the correct way to hold a spoon and fork. This is also a good age to introduce the use of the knife. By age 6, fork-knife coordination can be taught. This completes the process of teaching him how to use cutlery.

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