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when/how do toddlers start feeding themselves?

i know this is gradual but my son is about to turn 2 next week and he can only feed himself things i cut up into small pieces for him with a fork. he can't really use a spoon well yet and can't feed himself harder things that require more control - like soups...well, i guess he can, but it just gets so messy, we just feed him those kinds of things rather than having him feed himself and making a mess. when i do let him eat soup and harder/messier things to eat, he just plays with the food, mushes the food in his hands and puts his hand in the bowls/plates, rather than eat the food... how can i help my toddler feed himself better, not play with his food, etc. do i just let him make messes and have him play with food? thanks in advance!


Asked by Anonymous at 11:44 PM on Nov. 6, 2009 in Toddlers (1-2)

This question is closed.
Answers (4)
  • Ideally by age one most kids will feed themselves all finger foods - and be attempting to use utensils, even if it gets messy. By age two, they ought to be left to do it themselves, regardless of how messy it gets. Things like soup are not necessary to give to toddlers - like a PP said, drain the broth and then they become finger foods, anyway. But you shouldn't be "feeding" a two year old - it takes the control away from them and then you'll have rebellion w/ eating at some point. You can't be afraid of messes, Mama! You've got a toddler!

    Answer by Iskkra at 10:00 AM on Nov. 7, 2009

  • well he is a toddler and is going to make a mess and this is very normal. You have to let him feed himself so he can learn...if you don't let him you will delay this process. I start letting my kids feed themself at 12mos and by 16mos they all did really well with spoon and forks but yes they are toddlers so messes still happened. My youngest is 19mos and fully feeds herself. She does really well with the sppon but if I give her soup it can get messy! often with soup its like chicken noodl;e so I just drain most the broth out. mess or not give him the chance to feed himself!!

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:32 AM on Nov. 7, 2009

  • I agree with anon. I haven't "fed" my youngest (16 months) for at least the last 2 months.

    Answer by Amber115 at 12:44 AM on Nov. 7, 2009

  • yep they said it. you need to let him do it himself to get all the practice he can! my son is 14 months and does good. but he started by like 10-11 months.

    Answer by sarahdicksonjr at 9:07 AM on Nov. 7, 2009