There are a lot of skills that your child needs to learn as they grow. One of them is being able to feed themselves. Your child wanting to feed themselves is incredibly normal, and they may give you some signs that they are ready to try. This might include trying to take the spoon out of your hand as you feed them their favorite baby cereal or reaching for food on your plate.
Once your child shows you that they are ready, you’ll need to help them become better at this task. It will take them some practice to get the job done, and you may find that you are giving them baths more often to keep them clean. However, in time, they’ll master this skill and be able to feed themselves any soft food like baby cereal with no problems. Below are some ways to assist your kid in becoming successful at self-feeding.
Give Them Lots of Practice
When your child first sits down to eat, give them the chance to feed themselves. If they are hungry, they may be more motivated to try to get the food into their mouths. Should they get to the point where they are frustrated and struggling, then feed them the way you normally would, but give them the opportunity toward the end of the meal to try feeding themselves again.
Having them practice during snack time or playtime can also be beneficial. If you are trying to teach them how to eat with their fingers, allow them to take a small amount of food from your fingers or out of your hand. Making this process fun and with foods that they enjoy can help them become successful when it comes to feeding themselves.
Show Them How It’s Done
Children learn a lot of their behaviors by watching you, so make sure you are showing them how to feed themselves. You’ll want to show them how it’s done using their fingers, as well as using utensils. You might also consider helping your child with these actions. You can gently grab their hands and help them close their fingers around food or show them how to hold a spoon. When they have a utensil, you can also help them dip it into their baby cereal and assist them by bringing it to their mouth without spilling.
With enough repetition and practice, they will figure out the proper technique and be able to feed themselves. It may take time to get to this point, and your child may push your hands away as they try to figure it out themselves. If that’s the case, give them the chance to try on their own, but continue to show them how to do it properly.
Stay Close During Feeding Time
Your child still has a lot to learn when it comes to eating, and choking is a serious hazard. Thus, you must stay close and keep an eye on your child as they feed themselves. If they rush the process or put too many things in their mouth at one time, you need to be close to prevent anything bad from happening.
It will take a while for your child to learn how to feed themselves, and they will get incredibly messy during the process. Make sure you remain patient and don’t rush your child at mealtimes. Let them learn at their own pace.