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Or was I over reacting to be a bit surprised by nephews eating habits?

(55 Posts)
IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 08-Oct-12 09:01:02

I have no experience of 4.5 year olds as my DD is only 4.5months so not sure if this is normal behaviour or not!

Yesterday we went to my SIL house for Sunday lunch. Was very delicious and was lovely of her to invite us over. I was a bit surprised to see my nephew eating his entire lunch, gravy soaked mash potato included, with his hands. There was cutlery at the side of his plate but he just ignored it. SIL said once or twice "can you use your fork/spoon please" but when he just ignored her nothing more was said. If I look back on other recent times he's eaten that I've seen, I've never seen him use cutlery.

Now my experience of a child eating is shoving DD on my boob so nowhere near the feeding herself stage, but at 4.5 should a child be using cutlery?

Will completely accept if it's normal and I shouldn't of been shocked by it, but I honestly thought a school age child should be able to use cutlery to feed themselves.

MrsWolowitz Mon 08-Oct-12 09:02:49

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

I think he should be using forks and spoons by that age. Probably not a knife.

Does he have any SNs?

boredandrestless Mon 08-Oct-12 09:04:35

A 4 and a half year old wouldn't usually eat mash and gravy with their hands no.
Does he go to nursery or childminders? Am surprised he's still doing this at 4 as most kids that age can sit with their peers and eat a simple meal with some sort of cutlery.

He'll be eating school dinners soon and will stand out eating like this!

Does he have any developmental delays or learning difficulties?
My DS has autism and struggles with cutlery but he gives it a go, and wouldn't dream of eating something like mash and gravy with his hands (well he wouldn't eat them at all because of sensroy issues but that's a whole other thread!).

RillaBlythe Mon 08-Oct-12 09:06:08

Knife is a bit trickier, my DD age 4.3 loves to try using it but generally sticks to fork & spoon. Definitely not hands though. Sounds off, OP.

RillaBlythe Mon 08-Oct-12 09:06:40

He must be at school already.

IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 08-Oct-12 09:07:18

No SN, and he's a bright little cookie (to the point of getting bored and playing up a little bit sometimes but then what 4.5 year old doesn't?!) And he's very good about eating healthy and varied food. SIL had cut his food into manageable pieces that I thought would be easy to stab with the fork etc...

Maybe it's just one of those battles she knows it's better not to pick if it means he's eating.

puds11 Mon 08-Oct-12 09:07:47

He should at least be making the effort. Sounds trickier to eat mash and gravy with hands than with a spoon tbh. Maybe he is just very tactile?

If she was telling him but not forcing the issue maybe its a defiance thing.

Is he normally well behaved or can he act up a lot?

greensnail Mon 08-Oct-12 09:13:22

Maybe she was just ignoring his behaviour. My dds are a bit younger but able to use cutlery. If dd1 decided to use her hands I would probably ask her not to once then ignore her in the hope that if she gets no attention for it she'll soon revert to using her cutlery.

IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 08-Oct-12 09:14:14

wannabe: without sounding like I'm being mean about a little boy, he can be quite a handful and a bit naughty sometimes. I know naughty behaviour is par for the course with lots of children but my mother of pfb that will never do any wrong eyes have widened in surprise of some of his behaviour before. He can also be incredibly caring and sweet, and always do gentle around my DD, but it's not unusual to see a bit of a battle of wills going on between him and SIL!

Gumby Mon 08-Oct-12 09:14:37

Maybe she ususally makes him use cutlery but didn't want to create an atmosphere in front of you as guests?

itwasallyellow Mon 08-Oct-12 09:14:40

I think he should be, but who knows what's going on, maybe it's a bit of a behaviour thing and she's trying not to turn it into a battle.

Also he will be eating meals at school with his peers and may well be capable of eating with a fork there but go into baby moade at home.

BillyBollyBandy Mon 08-Oct-12 09:16:18

My dnephew still does this and he is 14!!! My dd1 uses cutlery and has done since she was 2. He eats jelly with his hands ffs, and does it because he is lazy and thinks it is funny I think. My db just ignores him.

Odd because dn is a really lovely lad, he just refuses to eat with cutlery.

itwasallyellow Mon 08-Oct-12 09:17:35

Ishallcallyousquishy as a mother of a baby dd, believe me you are very likely to find a 4 year old boy extremely naughty, they are totally different to girls although some people are in denial about that and to other people they often look like cheeky little tearaways.

I would say its as pps have said. A battle of wills and she doesnt want to play into it by giving him attention.

Children that age can be mischevious smile

RillaBlythe Mon 08-Oct-12 09:19:53

hmm I have some pretty good battles of wills with my daughter. 45 mins last night about bedtime routine. Let's not generalise too wildly.

BigBroomstickBIWI Mon 08-Oct-12 09:21:18


I have two sons and they have never been 'extremely naughty'. They had their moments, obviously, but they were never that badly behaved - and they are 20 and 17 now, so I've had many years of parenting! Labelling boys like this is horrible.

OP - YANBU to be surprised. At that age a child should be capable of using cutlery. But, as others have said, it's possible that this is a battle your SIL is choosing not to fight.

MonsterBookOfTysons Mon 08-Oct-12 09:21:44

Ds 4 years 3 months does this when he is either tired or really hungry.
We remind him to use cutlery and he does for 5 mins
He has no sn.then uses hands again.

PrimrosePath Mon 08-Oct-12 09:22:06

If she asked him to use cutlery he obviously can use it. I suspect she didn't want to make a scene when you were there.

Also, most 4 year olds are handfuls - just you wait wink

MonsterBookOfTysons Mon 08-Oct-12 09:22:39

Tut my phone jambled my message up.

TM08 Mon 08-Oct-12 09:25:43

My daughter's 4.5years and doesn't understand how to use a knife yet (probably because children's cutlery (knives) are utterly crap). She uses a fork and spoon but constantly tries to use her hands instead.

I let her use her hands if it's something non-messy/non-saucy. She's not a great eater at dinner times and our HV suggested letting her use her hands (don't tell her off for not using cutlery) as it lets her familarise herself with the various foods through texture etc.

So our dinners always come with a side of baby wipes wink

weegiemum Mon 08-Oct-12 09:25:58

Also hmm wrt comment about boys/girls. Don't blame this on him being a boy! I have 2 girls and a boy and both the most defiant (dc1) and boisterous (dc3) are our girls!

itwasallyellow Mon 08-Oct-12 09:28:51

bigbroom I'm not labelling boys in the way you think, think you have misunderstood what I mean. I have a boy myself who is an angel.

What I said is to a mother of a baby dd, a 4 year old boys behaviour might 'seem' extremely naughty. Because they haven't yet experienced, the power battles, the boisterousness, the rough play, the op said that this little boy is kind and caring and very gentle with her baby so I'm just 'guessing' she might be perceiving some typical 4 year old behaviour as naughty. As lots of us did when we saw that tantruming kid int he supermarket, until our own children did it.

IShallCallYouSquishy Mon 08-Oct-12 09:31:37

Primrose: no, my DD will remain an angelic little baby forever and ever grin <rocking back and forth thinking if I say it enough it will come true emoticon>

I am going to go with being a battle she chose not to fight at that time!

At least I've gained bit of understanding that children that age should be able to use cutlery though.

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