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Tips for helping your child to use cutlery

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Behaviour Food & Eating Mealtimes and fussy eating

Learning to use a spoon, fork and knife is a skill and, like all skills, it takes practice. Here are some tips for helping your child use cutlery to eat. If you’re prepared to be patient and to wipe up a bit of mess, you’re already half way there!

When do children start using cutlery?

You can start giving your wee one a spoon to play with as soon as they start eating solid foods (you can find out more about this in our section on weaning and first foods). Although don’t expect them to use it for its proper purpose at this point – it’s much more fun to chew it or bang it on their high chair!

By 14 months children can usually dip a spoon into food and move it to their mouths, although this is very messy and involves lots of spills! They’ll then learn to scoop with a spoon to feed themselves. But remember, all kids develop at different rates, so don’t worry if yours is still at the spoon banging stage.

Between 2 and 3 years, children get better at feeding themselves with a spoon and learn to pick up food with a fork. By 5 they’re usually learning to spread and cut with a knife. However, they don’t usually master the art of using a knife and fork together until they’re around 7.

Tips for helping your child to use cutlery

More information on using cutlery

If you’d like to know more you can download these leaflets from NHSGGC:

Last updated: 15 Jun, 2023