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When is the appropriate age to teach a child to start using a fork or spoon? Is there a certain age when they should have the dexterity to be able to use them and understand what they are used for?

My 12 month old twins will occasionally feed themselves from a spoon or fork (if I put the food on the utensil for them), but other times they just pull the food off with their hand just feed it to themselves with their hands. I'm just wondering if I should be doing more to encourage them to use their utensils, or if they're still too young to even bother.

Please let me know from your personal experience when you started teaching your child and how long it took them to be able to use them?

asked 08 Feb '10, 14:41

Shannon%20B's gravatar image

Shannon B
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I was just wondering the same thing myself.

(08 Feb '10, 16:05) Anne

As soon as your child is being fed with solids and with a spoon, he or she will soon develop an interest in that strange device.

I would let them have a spare spoon whenever they want, and let them play with it (of course while watching them so they don't take their eye out or something). We are currently at this stage.

We plan to let him eat however he wants, and hope that his interest in using utensils will grow over time. Whenever he uses utensils correctly, we praise and encourage, of course.

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answered 08 Feb '10, 14:49

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brandstaetter
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+1 for great approach and praise and encouragement.

(08 Feb '10, 15:24) Emi

We give our 6 month old a spoon and she is able to put it into her mouth herself. We "load" it for her, and hand it to her, and she either puts it in her mouth or doesn't - whatever she chooses. So, in my opinion, you can start giving them a spoon with food on it as soon as you start giving them solids.

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answered 08 Feb '10, 20:53

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Fun2Dream
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I can be quite a messy time period :D

(09 Feb '10, 06:18) brandstaetter

I think brandstaetter has made some great points. I just looked at the dates on some photos of my daughter, and at 13 months we had given her a spoon, a tub of yogurt and a plastic mat to sit on...

We encouraged her to hold the spoon herself and hold it so that the yogurt would remain on the spoon... It was a messy few weeks.

I poured yogurt and fruits into a bowl from which she would try and fill her spoon. With the small pots of yogurt it seemed easier because she would hold the spoon in one hand and the pot in the other. This was more rewarding for her because of the short distance between pot, spoon and mouth, and thus more motivating for her...being able to actually feed herself a yogurt without spilling most of it.

The fork took a little longer to master, I cannot recall precisely how much longer though. This time I would put the food on the fork and let it stay on her plate until she picked it up, and eventually she would try and mirror my actions, by trying to stab something on the plate with the fork.

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answered 08 Feb '10, 15:57

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Emi
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edited 08 Feb '10, 22:31

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Asked: 08 Feb '10, 14:41

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Last updated: 08 Feb '10, 22:31