Struggling to get your child to use a knife and fork? We explain how to teach your child great table manners using a kids cutlery set with as little mess and stress as possible!
Pictured: Nanas manners
It’s a well-known fact that parents everywhere struggle with teaching their kids cutlery skills and table manners! From holding the spoon correctly so the contents stay on it, to overcoming the desire to shove everything in their mouth using their fingers, teaching kids how to use cutlery correctly is yet another thing on our to-do list.
But it’s not all bad news. The specially designed kids cutlery sets make this a much easier task. Not only are they smaller in size, but they are also shaped differently to make it easier for little fingers to hold. As for table manners, we’ve got that covered here too, so read on.
Why Use Kids Cutlery?
When it comes to kids cutlery, there are plenty of great options to pick from. We sell and recommend:
Each has been designed for a specific age and purpose. For instance, the Constructive Eating sets are great at encouraging reluctant cutlery users to pick them up and give it a go. The Nana’s Manners sets are for children aged 6-9 years old, with the Doddl sets for young kids 12 months and up.
Therefore using a specially designed children’s cutlery set helps in a few ways:
- gripping onto the cutlery
- manipulating the cutlery in scooping, lifting, pushing and cutting movements
- making using cutlery fun and enjoyable
- promoting feeding independence
Once you’ve made the decision about which set to use moving forwards, then comes the using cutlery and table manners lessons.
Teaching Kids to Use Cutlery
Forget about complicated methods to teach your kids how to use cutlery. Instead, focus on these points:
- sit them up at the table, with back and feet supported.
- put a non-slip placemat underneath the bowl or plate
- use a plate with a raised lip or a suction base, Petite Eats Super Sticky Silicone Suction Plate is a great pick.
- let your child experiment with which hand they want to use their fork or spoon in
- encourage a good grasp, with their index finger pointing down the back of the knife, fork or spoon
- start with soft foods such as mashed potato and weetbix to learn to scoop
- for cutting practice, try a banana or other soft foods
- have your child stab the food with the fork, while you cut it with the knife
- do plenty of modelling and praise all of their attempts!
It’s also an opportunity to teach and promote table manners now too. Modelling is always successful, as is praising their attempts, no matter how small. Some of the points to teach include:
- chewing with your mouth shut
- using your cutlery
- wiping hands on a serviette or cloth
- keeping food on the plate or utensil
- talking with an empty mouth
- asking nicely for more food
- seeking permission before leaving the table
Do you have any more to add? Drop us a line in the comments below, and remember that here at Sleepytot, we’ve got your back when it comes to finding the right kids cutlery sets!