Do you know when is the best time to introduce utensils to your child? While it is strongly encouraged that your child continue to explore food with the use of their hands, you can begin introducing utensils to your child as early as 6 months of age. While this may seem like an early time frame for utensil introduction, children are not expected to be efficient with independent self-feeding with utensils until 24 months of age.
Offering utensils early exposes your child to how utensils look and feel as well as gives them the opportunity to improve their hand to mouth coordination.
When you are first introducing utensils, look for utensils with short, wide handles. This supports your child’s grasp on the spoon. You can use a NumNum GOOtensil as your first introduction as it serves a great teether and offers tastes of food to your child. The spoon you choose should have a flat bowl, which supports lip closure, but also should have a wide enough bowl to hold the food so that it does not fall off before your child can get it to his/her mouth. A few spoon recommendations are listed below:
- First Essentials by NUK Kiddy Cutlery Spoon Set
- OXO Tot Training Fork/Spoon Set
- ECR4Kids My First Meal Pal Toddler Spoons
You can also introduce forks between the ages of 6-12 months, but be sure to look for rounded tines. You also want to make sure the tines of the fork are strong enough to hold the food. Oftentimes, a plastic or silicone fork does not have the strength to keep the food on the fork, which can be frustrating.
The most important things to remember is feeding should be fun and messy! This will support your child in learning about food and its various smells and textures. If you have any questions, you can reach out to our Feeding Therapist, Blaire Harter, M.A., CCC-SLP via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.