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Independently Feeding with a Spoon and Fork

“Fork it Over, and Get The Scoop!”

  • Give your child opportunities to use utensils throughout the day.
  • During play, have your child pretend to cook, eat, and serve.  Take turns feeding your child and having him feed dolls and stuffed animals.
  • When first introducing a spoon, give your child foods that will stick to the utensil (e.g., yogurt, applesauce, mashed potatoes).
  • Point to utensils, then to the foods, and then to your child’s mouth.
  • Put the utensil in your child’s hand. Scoop or stab the food and guide it to your child’s mouth using hand over hand assistance.
  • When introducing a fork, use textured foods, such as cheese, meats, fruit, vegetables that are easy to stab with the utensil.
  • Model scooping with a spoon and stabbing with a fork.
  •  Position the utensil between your child’s thumb and first two fingers.
  • Make sure that you put your child’s food in a sturdy bowl that has a lip and does not move.  This makes it easier for your child to scoop and stab the foods.
  • Verbally encourage your child to use a spoon or fork when he prefers to fingerfeed.
  • Give your child utensils at each meal to allow him the opportunity to practice, practice, practice.