Cutlery or fingers?
Be prepared for messy mealtimes with children. It will take time for your child to learn how to behave when eating.
You and the rest of the family will set an example, so try to eat and enjoy your food together. Some families prefer to eat with their fingers, while others use chopsticks or cutlery.
Whatever tool is preferred, be patient. Your child will need time to get used to them. By about the age of one, babies should be trying to feed themselves.
Some babies are very independent and want no help so be patient, even if most of the food does not reach their mouths. Others prefer help, but are happy to fiddle with a spoon whilst being fed.
Whichever the case, encourage your child to feed him or herself, either with a spoon or by offering suitable finger foods.
Some safety tips
- Take care that your child only has access to small blunt knives at the meal table.
- Unbreakable plates or bowls are ideal for small children, who often decide their meal is finished when their plate hits the floor.
- When your child no longer needs the high chair, make sure that he or she is sitting at the right height for the table. Otherwise your child will find it difficult to eat. Booster seats, cushions or a lap may be useful. Whatever you use, make sure your child is sitting safely.
How much food do toddlers need?
Children's appetites vary enormously, so common sense is a good guide to how big a portion should be. Be guided by your children do not force them to eat when they no longer wish to, but do not refuse to give more if they really are hungry.
As long as your child eats a range of foods, and your health visitor is happy with his or her progress, try not to be concerned about the amount your child eats.