Teach Your Child How to Eat With Utensils

It was cute when your baby first started using his fingers to eat on his own -- and consequently ended up getting food on his face, in his hair, and even in a little circle on the floor around his high chair.

But once your little one’s reached toddlerhood and you’re still picking pieces of spaghetti off the wall, it’s time to make a change. This part of his early childhood development may seem like it will never come -- but it will!

By age 2, your child has the motor skills to use a utensil and drink from a cup using one hand. That’s not to say your attempts at civilized mealtime will always go smoothly: Even if your child likes the idea of using a grown-up fork and spoon, he might sometimes be too hungry or tired to feel like bothering.

Here are some tips to help keep your child on track:

Lead by example. You might not always be able to eat with your child, but share meals as often as possible so he can watch how you eat with a utensil. It won’t be long before he will want to try to copy you.

Be consistent. Give your child utensils at every meal once he’s developed the skills to use them, even if he isn’t interested in using them yet. Over time, he’ll start to get the idea that this is just how big people eat.

Don’t force it. On the days when he’s just not interested in his spoon or fork, don’t pick a battle. Fighting with your child over this issue will just cause a power struggle … and make mealtime unhappy for everyone.

Be patient and stick with the routine. Before you know it, you’ll have a proper little gentleman dining with you at the dinner table!