At this age your child should be trying to feed himself/herself with his/her fingers. They can also be exploring how to use spoons and forks during mealtime. Once they are more independent during meals, it makes your life easier – except for the initial mess of course! However, the more confident they get with feeding the better their motor skills become which equals less mess.
Here are some tips to promote self-feeding…
1) Be a model for your child – Have them sit with you and eat as a family. If they see how you pick up food with your fingers or with your fork and spoon, the more likely they are going to do it! We love attaching the Inglesina Fast Table Chair on the table – that way he really becomes a part of mealtime instead of in his own space in a clunky high chair. You can even bring it with you to restaurants and on vacation – it fits on almost any table!
2) Don’t be afraid to physically prompt your child – Choose a time where they are in a good mood and with one of their favorite foods. You can take their fingers to teach them how to refine their pincer grasp, or take their hand and have them scoop with a spoon, and even have them use a fork to stab the food items. We personally love Beaba Spoon and Fork Set utensils for kiddos! They are easy to use and come in lots of colors ☺ Num Num Dips are also a great stepping stone to actual utensils since your babies can stick them into thin and thick foods and feed themselves!
3) Create opportunities – The trick is to always give them the opportunity to self-feed! Cut up food so that it is possible to grab with their hand (e.g. – bell peppers sliced the longer way) or stab with a fork. Present them with consistencies such as yogurt, soup, and rice, so they can scoop with a spoon.
4) Praise – Give you child positive language along with some clapping if they try to self-feed. If they see you are excited they are likely to do the same behavior again and will gradually improve!
We wish your families smooth and delicious mealtimes!! ☺