Your Toddler, the independent eater

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  • Toddlers are more independent and will want to feed themselves instead of having you help.
  • She hasn’t yet mastered the spoon, but she’s trying.
  • Read some tips on helping your Toddler learn to self-feed.

What to expect from your Toddler
At this point your Toddler is getting the hang of self-feeding, so prepare for the mess during mealtime! You can expect to see a few things during this stage. Her hands and finger skills will develop, which is why she might insist on finger-feeding herself instead of having you help. Be sure to let her! It’s great for her self-feeding skills.

Your little one might also be ready for more tableware during mealtime. She’s making progress on drinking from a cup, and even though she hasn’t mastered the spoon yet, she’s probably tried. If she does, you’ll likely need to help fill the spoon and get it to her mouth.  

What you can do to help
Of course, not all children are the same, so no worries if she hasn’t mastered all of these yet. There are things you can do to support your growing Toddler, too:  

  • Try two spoons at first. You hold one spoon and let her hold the other. Show her how you use it, and then watch as she copies you. Or if she tries to grab your spoon, switch with her to let her try with yours instead.
  • Have manageable food on hand. Give your Toddler foods that have a size and texture that easily clings to a spoon. To make learning easier for your child, choose foods that are made especially for Toddlers learning to feed themselves.
  • Be ready with the right utensils. Give your baby utensils that have big, soft-textured handles that are easy to grip. Also, make sure that any forks have blunt prongs. Look for plates with curved sides that make it easy to scoop food. Plates with suction cups on the bottom will keep them in place.
  • Try not to use disposable plastic spoons or forks—they break easily and are choking hazards. They also have sharp edges that can scratch your Toddler. 

Practice makes perfect

When your Toddler is eating, be patient and let her practice her feeding skills rather than jumping in right away to help. Remember to let her know and encourage her when she’s done a good job.

Imitation is the best form of flattery
Your child wants to be just like you, and she’s always watching and learning to see what you’re doing. Set a good example during mealtime with these tips:  

  • Include her in the conversation at the table.
  • Eat a good variety of healthy foods in front of your child.
  • Use table manners, like saying “please” and “thank you.”
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