One of the most common questions I get asked is... How can I teach my child to feed themselves?
Well, give them their own spoon while you feed them. This not only allows the child to associate the spoon with eating but also allows them to work on their fine motor skills and they see themselves as responsible or, powerful, and are able to respond to what needs to be done.
They need this for their self-esteem, for their lives to have meaning and we must support them by making them feel that it's their job and not yours.
Now give them their own little bowl from which they can scoop out their favourite yogurt. Slowly give them their fork and knife and encourage them to cut their cheese cube and eat it with their fork. All the utensils need to be toddler friendly and colourful for them to have fun with their food.
Just remember to give them gentle reminders as they eat like, 'veggies' are feeling left out. Time to attend to them too!' And of course lavish plenty of praise and encouragement for whatever they have accomplished!
Let them experience being messy as part of curiosity, discovery and exploration- If they drop food around or mess with it, don't be in a hurry to grab the spoon or try to pin them down to wipe their face off after each bite! This may take away from their meal time experience!
I was tempted to help my toddlers learn self-feeding as that meant I could sit back and enjoy my own meal again! So have fun with your little one!
Also read: 5 Golden Rules on Manners + More#toddlerlearning