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at what age do children use cutlery properly?

(31 Posts)
bummer Mon 15-May-06 12:49:22

I am seriously wondering if ours ever will and it's causing friction and embarrassment when visiting MIL

WigWamBam Mon 15-May-06 12:51:39

How old are they?

sandyballs Mon 15-May-06 12:56:59

Oh Bummer (love the name btw ) - I have the same issue with my MIL. My DDs are 5 and are very hit and miss with cutlery. I've always been thankful that they eat most things, without making too much of an issue about how it actually reaches their mouths, but now they are 5 I suppose it needs addressing. I shall watch this thread with interest.

Yummymum1 Mon 15-May-06 13:14:30

Sandyballs,I feel encouraged by your msg.My ds is 5 and used to be quite good with cutlery but is now a disaster!He uses his knife like a dagger and holds his fork in his fist with no control whatsoever!I think given half the chance he would use his fingers to eat everything!

Blu Mon 15-May-06 13:15:37

Is it possible that the more reasonable question is 'at what age do MIL's keep their opiniuons to themselves?'

Mercy Mon 15-May-06 13:20:39

my dd is 5 and can use a spoon and fork with no problems, although she will use fingers too at times. She's just started using a knife and is really struggling with it so far; she also can't keep still in her chair, constantly fidgets and talks with her mouth full. My mum is appalled.

Not much help but you are not alone!

Tommy Mon 15-May-06 13:22:50

If it's any help, my DS1 is 4y4m and has just about got to the stage where he will cut a piece of food with a knife, then use his fingers to stick it onto the fork, then eat it. It drives me mad but lunchtime here is a bit like feeding time at the zoo (except that a lot less is eaten, obviously) so I wouldn't use him as a very good example.

brimfull Mon 15-May-06 13:27:31

oh god my parents are coming to stay in june,must start table manner coaching!

WigWamBam Mon 15-May-06 13:27:45

There's that to it, Blu ...

The HV got twitchy because my dd couldn't use a spoon at 21 months, so we gave her a fork, and she managed very well. She started using a spoon pretty quickly after that. She struggled with knives, and I was cutting her food up for her until she was almost ready to start school - the pre-school muttered a bit about it, but she just couldn't manage. She's 5 this week and is fine with a knife and fork now - although she tends to cut the food, put the knife down, and put her fork into her right hand to eat the food. I wouldn't expect perfection though, and wouldn't take criticism of it from my MIL.

bummer Mon 15-May-06 13:58:20

Now this is where I am a failure totally and utterly a failure. How do I admit that oldest has just turned 8 (years not months). We really have tried, coaching, praising, bribing, and gone full circle for far too long and got absolutely no where. We like eating out but can't go to anywhere decent. Our children seem to be failures in everything compared to MIL's other grandchildren and it's not because we don't try to be decent parents.

WigWamBam Mon 15-May-06 14:03:15

Crikey, if the way our children hold their knives and forks is an indication of how good we are as parents, there are a lot of us who need to start to worry! There are bigger and worse things to worry about than how they hold their cutlery, and if your MIL is embarrassing you and causing problems because of it then it's she who is badly behaved, not them.

With regard to not eating out anywhere decent though, I would say that the only way they will learn to eat "nicely" is to be given the chance to do it. Practice makes perfect and all that. Plus if they don't have the chance to eat out, then maybe there's no incentive to do it properly.

EmmyLou Mon 15-May-06 14:13:36

Tommy - glad to see that sticking food onto fork with fingers isn't just confined to my house!(seems like a needless diversion though) Table manners is a current niggle in our house, DH even tried to blame me a little the other day - in a round about kind of way. I was livid as he works away a lot and the only meal he is ever here for on a regular basis is Sunday lunch. I find with 3 dds i'm to busy getting up and down (as you do) and trying to stuff in the odd mouthful of my meal too that sometimes table manners seems like the last straw. We have just started a sticker chart for proper use of knife and fork for my 7 yr old as she had regressed and it seems to be working v well. She gets a reward after two weeks. I'm trying to have more meals that actually do require both knife and fork to give her a chance as pasta is universally eaten with fork only, in right hand so can't blame her there. Its just a matter of getting used to the feel of it again.

EmmyLou Mon 15-May-06 14:20:26

WigWamBam - When you've watched a child try to stuff a whole Yorkshire pudding in her mouth in one go because she doesn't want to use her knife - well the extra washing is a bit galling not to mention it just not being very pleasant to watch! I do think children need pointing in the right direction with regards to considering other peoples' feelings and good manners is a start. I hope!

WigWamBam Mon 15-May-06 14:23:28

I didn't say that they don't need pointing in the right direction, and I didn't say that they don't need to be taught the right way to do it.

Of course they do ... but they also need the chance to practice it, and to prove that they can do when they put their minds to it. It might also be something to use as a bribe - "when you can use your knife like a knife and not a dagger, we can go to [insert name of local posh eaterie]".

sandyballs Mon 15-May-06 14:30:52

We had friends round for dinner on Friday evening and DD proceeded to lick her plate at the end of her meal, and then leant forward to eat all the stray veg off the table, using just her mouth . My friend (who is childless I might add!), just sat and watched and drily remarked "You must be very proud".

EmmyLou Mon 15-May-06 14:34:56

sandyballs - that's priceless - one of those situations where you either wither and die or run and get the video camera. I'm all for licking plates if have been in contact with chocolate.

Tommy Mon 15-May-06 19:33:38

LOL Sandyballs
I have a friend who thinks my children are really good at the table because they say "Please may I get down from the table?" when they've finished - never mind that they've eaten what little they could be bothered to try like a couple of monkeys.
I think it's a matter of priorities.
I'd love to go to a "nice" restaurant (by that I mean Pizza Express or similar) with the DSs but DS1 only eats bread and butter so it always seems like a bit of a waste....

beckybrastraps Mon 15-May-06 19:36:35

In our house, the question "May I take my plate to the kitchen?" has a silent "and lick it when I get there?"

silverbirch Mon 15-May-06 20:37:05

So relieved to see this thread - my otherwise
dexterous 6yo dd struggles to use a knife
properly - perhaps I am not such a bad Mum
after all!

singersgirl Mon 15-May-06 21:45:07

Bummer, DS1 is nearly 8 too and is reluctant to give up his preferred method of spoon-held-in-fist with other hand to shovel. I need to do a really consistent drive on cutlery as it is an embarrassment when we are out. The trouble is I always have so many other, more important behavioural goals on my sticker charts.

EmmyLou Mon 15-May-06 23:47:35

At the end of the (long, long, oh so very long) day, if they eat their food we should be glad. Perhaps at a later, starting-to-get-interested-in-opposite-sex kind of age, videoing them and playing it back might get the message home?

serenity Tue 16-May-06 01:05:40

We rarely eat food that needs a knife so DSs (8 and 5) are pretty crap really. They give it a go, but do tend to give up pretty easily. TBH it doesn't really bother me, I assume they'll get the hang of it by the time they leave home...... However with all other aspects they are pretty good, I have no worrys about taking any of them to restaurants but I find they tend to be more careful when we're out anyway.

carla Tue 16-May-06 01:56:06

Message deleted

Wallace Tue 16-May-06 08:08:38

We are having this issue in our house with ds who is coming up to 7. He can use a knife and fork, but doeswn't. He pulls his food apart with his fingers and it is starting to annoy me - and of course he is much worse when we are at MIL's

bourneville Tue 16-May-06 08:12:06

much more important that kids feel relaxed at the dinner table than to drum table manners into them imo

i understand the embarrassment though.

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