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Food and Nutrition Topics..

You are here : home > Food and Nutrition > Eating Disorders and Compulsions > Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat On Their Own

Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat On Their Own

Encouraging self-feeding can help to develop healthy eating habits in children. Find useful ways to encourage kids to eat on their own.

Children basically are self-feeders. However, to avoid mess parents start insisting to feed them especially when they are fed with varieties of foods. Well, you should be prepared and must have patience when you are teaching your toddler to eat on her own.
Remember, if you will allow her to have fun with her food, she will have the practical approach towards self-feeding and she will be able to master the skills easily and quickly. Give her adequate amount of freedom in selecting foods and eating them.

When do Toddlers Start Self-Feeding?

Toddlers start making new moves which make them become an active little person gradually. Self-feeding is an important skill which helps the child have personal as well as social development. This skill is not only going to give your child the right chance to develop independence, but also help her understand the indications of hunger and fullness.
Between 8 to 12 months, when your child will be able to start using her thumb and forefinger, you can start teaching her lessons of self-feeding. Between 13 to 15 months you can help her start eating with a spoon. However, the best way to judge your toddler is by offering her very small bits of food in a plate and finding out if she eats on her own.

7 Ways to Encourage Kids to Eat on their Own

Here is how you can encourage your kids to eat on their own.

1. Give Them Opportunity

Let them try over and over again. You can cut small pieces of an apple or similar fruit and serve her in plate. The play and feed table especially designed for toddlers will be of great help here.

2. Let Them Hold Food Items

Ask your child to hold biscuit or a small piece of fruit from your hand. Offer only safe foods, which mean the size that she can easily hold and chew and even if she swallows the food, there will be no choking hazard. Offer foods that dissolve easily in mouth. For example small pieces of ripe fruits like banana, mango, watermelon, peaches, small pieces of soft cooked vegetables like carrot, sweet potatoes and cooked pasta.

3. Pay Attention to Your Child’s Hunger Cues

Once you have watched out for the signs indicating that your child wants to try self-feeding, now is the time to look out for hunger cues of your child. Offer her suitable food items in proper size and of apt softness so that she tries and is able to feed herself as well.

4. Demonstrate and Practice with Your Child

Teach your child how to hold the food and how to put the food items in her mouth. Try to have your toddler meals with the entire family. You can also sit with your toddler and talk about the food she is eating and hold one piece at a time to show her how to proceed.

5. Supervise your Child When Self-feeding

Never leave your toddler on her own to eat her food. Make sure you supervise so that if she is choking you can attend her immediately. However, you can reduce the danger by keeping the food pieces very small, but it is advisable to have a close watch.

6. Be Prepared for The Mess

Your toddler has just started to learn how to eat and she will take time to master the skill. While learning she is going to spill, splash and create a mess of food and of herself also. Be prepared for that. Just make sure she does not hurt herself by putting the food into her nose or rub her eyes with the same hand.

7. Praise Your Child

Do not forget to praise your child when she successfully finishes her food from the plate. After all, she is on her way to master one of the most important personal and social skills.

How to Teach Your Child to Eat With Spoon

Here is how you can teach your child to eat with spoon.
  1. Watch out for the signs and start only when your child is ready.
  2. Choose the right spoon so that the food goes into her mouth and she does not get hurt as well.
  3. Demonstrate and teach your child how to use the spoon.
  4. Start with thicker and denser foods so that it stays on the spoon till your child takes it to her mouth. Make sure that the food does not pose any choking hazard.
  5. Try to include your toddler in family meals so that she learns faster by seeing all the members eat.
  6. Last but not the least point is to praise even the simple efforts made by your child.
Just like teaching your child how to eat with fingers and spoons, teach her how to drink water independently. Start with the cup that has a lid. Once she is capable of drinking with the lid on, remove the lid so that she learns how to manage drinking without spilling. Help your toddler only when she really needs it.
Messiness is an unavoidable part of the self-feeding learning process. Let your child take her time so that the learning process is smoother. If you will not force your child or scream at spilling, the process will not only be less frustrating, but also fast and hassle free.

How to encourage self-feeding kids? Which signs indicate that kids are ready to eat on their own? What should parents do to encourage their kids to eat on their own? Discuss here.

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Palak.6 years ago
When kids turn a year old, parents can offer small bits of food in a plate to encourage them to eat on their own.
Hemali.6 years ago
kids who eat on their own are healthy
Mariam.6 years ago
encouraging self-feeding is very important.
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