There comes a time when you discover you need to begin teaching your little one table manners. For this you first need to introduce your toddler to cutlery which normally is a three stage procedure. Introducing your baby to a spoon first, then a spoon and fork and finally how to use the fork and knife together while eating. Utensil skills require excellent motor control and coordination and most toddlers master this by the time they are almost four years of age. However, you as parents require immense patience along with a positive attitude which will ensure your toddler learns these skills effortlessly.
Your toddler may begin using the spoon perfectly in no time, but mastering the technique of using the knife and fork may take a little more patience and time. Remember that a real meal is the ideal time to launch knife and fork use for your toddler.
Tips To help Your Child Learn To Use A Fork And A Knife
Given below are some simple pointers to make sure you make the right moves for the same.
- Be ready with the right gear: You will require a bib with a big pocket along with a plate with rubber edges which will not move around. Even the cutlery requires being child friendly and shorter in length which makes it convenient for your toddler to hold. Introduce bright and attractive colors which might appeal to your little one
- Method: You need to first show your child the right way to hold the knife and fork. Don’t expect him or her to get it right the very first time, but he will master it in time as he watches you doing it again and again. Once they get a hang of how to do it, let him try holding a piece of food with a fork and try slicing it with his knife. Never make the mistake of laughing or scolding your child if he is unable to do it right
- Let them practice a lot: Even though you need lots of patience, make sure you let him or her practice eating with the knife and fork almost every day until practice makes perfect finally
- Choices in food: Make sure you feed your child with the kind of food which will give him ample opportunities to practice his table manners. Bear in mind the fact that the more opportunities you provide, the quicker he will learn. You should feed him foods which will attach to the fork and are able to be sliced easily. Foods like boiled potatoes slightly browned are ideal for practicing eating with a knife and fork. Steer clear of food items which may be hard to slice like meat and also extremely mushy food like bananas which have chances of slipping off the fork
- Be ready for the mess: You can be sure this is going to be a messy business in the beginning as they learn to feed themselves especially using cutlery. It would be a good idea to position a floor mat just below the little one’s table so that clearing up becomes so much easier for you
- Praise your little one: Do not forget to praise your little one’s efforts even though they are quite sloppy and messy in the beginning. This will surely help to give a big boost to their confidence and help them to master the art of utensil eating sooner. Never make fun of your child’s attempts and never compare
- Never force your toddler: Never commit the mistake of forcing your child to try this ordeal if he refuses to do so or does seem interested. Leave it for a few days and commence it again after a break. Pressurizing your toddler will not help in any way
- Ensure you and your spouses are models: Do not ever forget the fact your child is constantly watching and observing all that you do. So it is absolutely necessary you eat right with the fork and knife which the child will automatically try to adopt
- Practicing during playtime: One good idea would be to conduct dolls parties for your little one pretending to feed his or her teddy bears and dolls. Getting them to cut play dough is excellent practice for your kid to learn this art better
- Involve your toddler: This is yet another good technique to help your toddler develop his table manners. You could involve him in setting the dining table everyday which helps him to comprehend cutlery is an important factor during meals. Talking to him or her about each cutlery item and what it is normally used for will help them pick up the concept more quickly
- Be ready to find a mixture of fingers and fork: There is every chance your little one will prefer eating some foods with his fingers rather than use cutlery for the same. It’s perfectly fine. Just leave him and he will slowly develop the habit as time goes
Keeping in mind the above mentioned pointers are surely going to be quite helpful when you begin battling with your toddler over utensil use. Don’t worry, he or she will surely develop excellent table manners as they grow up provided you provided you catch them young and teach them the right way.