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How to encourage/help a toddler learn to use a spoon?

Sorry this is so long.. I just want to explain what's going on so hopefully you can help.

My son is a stubborn one. He started out with the spoon great, but somewhere around 15 months he just decided he doesn't want to use it anymore. He's now about to turn 2 and he still doesn't want to feed himself. He just gets mad and frustrated, and doesn't want to try. At every meal, I give him a utensil and try to encourage him to feed himself (or even just play with it), but if he gets upset we stop. When I put the food on his spoon or fork, he might pick it up and eat it. And sometimes he likes to feed me with his spoon or fork. But he gets tired of this quick. He'd rather eat with his hands (and most of what we eat can be done this way) or if it's something like applesauce or oatmeal I have to feed him.

I could just stop spoon feeding him his applesauce so he has to figure it out himself, but I'm trying to find a gradual, tantrum-free way to get him comfortable with using utensils. If we reach a point where he HAS to learn, I will force it. But we're not there yet.

Any ideas on how to teach this skill? I also try to encourage him to scoop and pour water or sand in the back yard, and I'm just starting to teach him to fill the cat dish using a little scoop. (Similar motions in different situations.) As expected, he's not that interested in doing this, but we're still working on it.

I'd love to hear any other ideas on what to try. I'm not worried yet (and the ped isn't either), but I just think this is a skill we really should get moving on! Thanks!!


Asked by Sebbiemama at 3:07 PM on Jun. 14, 2011 in Toddlers (1-2)

Level 22 (12,447 Credits)
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Answers (3)
  • I did it with yogurt because it always sticks to the spoon. It doesn't fall off. I just gave them the little cup of yogurt and the spoon. They figured it out.

    Answer by mompam at 3:22 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • i gave my baby peanut butter sounds harsh but she loves it. i just put the spoon in her hand and she sort of gets the idea that she has to put it to her mouth but its still a struggle with her alil bit if youve tried everything then he will get it on his own when he sees that everyone else at the table does it.

    Answer by khyleezmama at 3:38 PM on Jun. 14, 2011

  • We had luck with yogurt and with pudding - both of those stick to the spoon and are easy to clean up afterwards. No worries - he will do it when he decides he wants to. GL

    Answer by chrys45 at 4:09 PM on Jun. 14, 2011