Learning how to use a spoon or cutlery is one of the natural steps of development almost all children will take from an early age. But it’s sometimes not as simple as just placing a spoon in their hand and hoping for the best!
Using cutlery effectively is part of a child learning fine motor skills and most children will not be able to use cutlery like a ‘professional’ until they’re four years old, so don’t stress if you feel your child isn’t hitting this milestone as quickly as you thought!
However, there are a few steps you can take to help develop your child’s hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.
- The first step is to see if your child is even ready to take this next step in their development. Ask yourself, are they showing interest in feeding themselves? Most children will show an interest anywhere from 8 – 15 months old, so there’s plenty of time! There’s no perfect time to introduce your baby to a spoon! If you start earlier, it will be more learning through play, whereas if you start a little later, it’ll be learning through action, both are completely fine!
- Before you decide to take this next step, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the inevitable mess. You may end up cleaning soup off the roof, but it’s part of the fun – apparently!
- Allow your child to hold a spoon. Some parents may find allowing their child to hold a spoon, whilst they feed their baby with another spoon solves two problems! They can begin to develop their pincer grip and you get to make sure some food ends up in their mouth!
- Make sure you’re prepared! Having a plate or bowl with a suction cup underneath can help to avoid any unwanted spills. We find the plates from Accessories4Babies are excellent for this! A full sized bib is also a must! Preferably something that will cover their clothes otherwise that mountain of washing will be as high as Mt Everest! The Babyboo Yummyboos are great for this too. Finally, you’ll need a rubber, short-handled spoon that is quite shallow. This helps baby to learn how to grip and also avoids huge amounts of food ready to be launched like a missile across the kitchen!
- One top tip is to introduce them to ‘sticky’ type foods. These will stick easier to a spoon and are less likely to slosh off the spoon onto the floor. This is where your handy Pipin Pear comes in! Foods such as their morning porridge or mashed foods are perfect for this.
Don‘t forget the two golden P’s!
Praise and patience, as you will need bucket loads of both! This is a fun and fascinating time for you both as your little one learns this new skill. Make sure to takes LOADS of photos, as before you know it, they’ll be using utensils well enough to eat dinner with the Queen…well, we can dream!
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