Some kids will eat anything. Others are really picky. No matter what your little one likes to munch there are some things you can do to help them become confident, independent little eaters.
Things your child should be able to do before they start school
- Use a knife and fork properly
- Feed themselves and not expect an adult to help
- Open packets by themselves
- Eat a varied and healthy diet
Helpful tips and activities
Things you can do to get them thinking about food and improve their skills.
- Help pretend to play feed their teddy or doll
- Let them try new foods – don’t worry if they don’t like them for the first few times, they’ll get used to them
- Practise using play dough cutters and plastic tools – it’s brilliant for improving hand skills
- Help them discover where food comes from by reading a book about eating
- Look at fruit and veg in the shops – feel them, smell them, talk about them
- Let them join in when you’re cooking or making a sandwich – when they make it, they’re more likely to eat it
- Get them to eat crunchy food you need to bite – it’s a great way to improve their chewing skills
- Show them how you use a knife and fork and get them to copy you – treat it like a game
- Eat together, when you can, using the same food – kids love to copy adults
- Help develop finger skills by using musical instruments or use a pencil or crayons to make marks or scribble on the paper
Signs to look out for
Things that let you know your child is developing the skills they need.
- Starts to move their mouth in lots of different ways
- Uses both hands together when they are fixing something or pulling things apart
- Brings food and drink up to their mouth without spilling anything
- Uses a spoon to feed themselves without any real help
- Happily drinks from a cup without a lid
- Has a good strong grip when picking up a knife and fork
- Can use a fork to scoop or stab at food confidently
- Careful when they are using a knife or fork
- Has an ‘I can’ approach to anything
Need more help or advice?
Talk to your Health Visitor – they’ll always be happy to answer your questions. Or if they can’t help, they’ll certainly be able to put you in touch with someone who can.