3 1/2 year old won't use cutlery(8 Posts)
Have seen a few threads on here about toddlers not using cutlery, but my DD is 3 1/2, and is not doing as well as her 15 month old sister. I have been encouraging her for well over a year, but thought it was more important to get her to stop hitting her sister, and I made no progress other than she will eat her cereal at breakfast with a spoon now (she didn't do that before - fingers for everything)
We eat every meal at the table together - DH is always home for tea, and we all eat that together. I have a sticker chart on the go (and have had for months) - she gets one at breakfast time, and about once a week at another meal - usually for sandwiches - three stickers to get a prize and very excited about the prizes.
She is a good eater, and eats a good variety of food, and I always considered that more important than how it goes in, but I am absolutely sick of seeing spag bol etc. eaten with fingers.
She does also mash stuff up with her fingers and smear it into the tablecloth etc to annoy me, but the not using cutlery is about more than just pissing me off (I think).
As a rule of thumb I ignore the bad and praise the good, but on this it's got me nowhere
Thanks in advance ladies
Hi my advise would be to make using cutlery fun, take it away from the meal time 'war zone'. use dry rice and dollys, teddys to feed, bowls of shreddies for pretend dog food with spoons to feed them.
Have egg and spoon race or similar small objects to carry using the spoons.
use cutlery in games such as catching fish (small carrots cooked) no need to eat them.
This is a great time to get out of the house have a picnic in the park, by the river, etc take special 'picnic' cutlery with you dollys, teddys etc what evr is her favourite.
Then go on to making meal time less stressful and more social, you may have to resort to finger foods in the mean time as she shall be expecting a reaction every meal time as I am sure you are also.
I hope this helps in some way, I know how stressful this can be, but as you have said she is eating a varied diet, at this age children are stretching the boundaries as long as you and other members of you family are consistent she will eventually be able to enjoy meal times.
DS (3.0) is pretty similar - will use a spoon brilliantly at breakfast, but is pretty bad at other meals. He has just eated baked beans (amongst other things!) with his hands for tea. A friend suggested doing a lot of playdough play with cutlery / role play of cutting things up to feed baby / pretending to be in a posh restaurant etc. I haven't actually tried this yet so can't personally vouch for it, but thought I'd share the tip!
Is she able to use the cutlery?
Is she able to do other things that use fine motor skills?
If she isn't then you need to work on it with playdoh etc (as amand said), but if she is able to and choosing not to then take the food away from her, tell her that until she eats it with her cutlery she will go without.
Thank you all - I have tried taking toys off her for other things, but this is not a threat she cares about - I can't take her sister's toys off her as well!
She has occassionally gone hungry after misbehaviour - throwing food at DH springs to mind, but not for just not using cutlery.
She does look awkward when she holds a knife in particular, but I have put it down to lack of practice and never thought to practice with non food items. Will definately be trying with playdough and 'real' food for the dollies.
Lot's of children her age aren't yet good with the knife They tend to hold it like you are going to stab someone not like we would - it takes practice but at 3.5 generally old enough to be using a fork or spoon properly.
As I said before - I think you need to determine if she is unable or unwilling and act accordingly.
My 5 yo can't be bothered with cutlery and he writes beautifully, so it's nothing to do with his motor skills. It's boring to have to keep on at them, but better than them looking like animals when you eat out! You just have to keep slogging at it, and do the best you can!
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