Taking care of a child is a big task in itself. On top of that, add the pressure of feeding them every time they are hungry. It demands a lot of commitment and dedication. The task is even bigger for working parents.
Imagine if your toddler learns how to self-feed. Would it not lift off a lot of weight from your shoulders? You will no longer be required to be around them all the time. It will also help you focus on your hunger the next time the whole family sits together to eat.
We know that is troubling you, thus, here are 7 tips to get your toddler to self-feed:
Make a schedule: A routine helps the toddler to know what to expect each day. Their bodies get habitual to the meal timings. This also regularises their hunger. Eventually, it helps them in making an effort to feed their own selves.
Be patient: It takes time for children to learn new habits. The process, beware, may also turn messy at times with projectiles of food flying toward you. So, parents need to maintain their patience and peace until their toddler learns to self-feed. Just remember, once the toddler learns the process, you will no longer have to worry about being there every time it's their meal time.
Be the role model: It is also advisable for the parents to sit in front of the toddlers and show them how to use the spoon or fork. They learn faster by watching. You can also exaggerate the movements and ask the toddlers to imitate you.
Hand guiding: If the toddler is struggling to get a grip on the spoon, you can place your hand over theirs and guide them on how to scoop up the food. This can also be done in the case of a fork. You can teach the children how to eat fruits with it. This helps them in forming a memory of the process and they try to use that during the next meal.
Choose appropriate cutlery: Some accidents are bound to happen. When a toddler will self-feed, there are very slim chances that they will get it right the first time. Ceramic or glass cutlery should be avoided. You must use cutlery that does not get broken easily on falling. Because let us warn you, toddlers can be really moody!
Expect the mess: Well, you should also be ready to clean the mess, if there is one. And believe us, there are going to be several such instances. But take it positively as this shows that the baby is trying to self-feed. This is an inevitable step, one will have to go through.
Be near them: In the early days, babies do not know how to chew and swallow properly. You must give them soft and easy-to-digest foods. But sometimes, the babies might gulp the food hastily, and it might lead to choking. You must always be near them when they self-feed so that you can help them if any such thing happens.