Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ways to help a child self feed

When a child turns 1, they start exploring, grabbing things with their hands and try putting everything in their mouth to taste it. So why not give them real food to explore and taste. This will also encourage independence in children.

At the beginning it will be a messy job. They might just play with the food instead of eating. They might play with the spoon and the plate that make very good noise. Give very small portions of food to them so that you too feel that it is not being wasted. It is just a development stage. They will be able to develop their motor skills slowly.

Introduce soft foods that are very small in size. If they are big, cut it into small sizes. Pasta, idli, dosa, boiled vegetables are some examples. You can decide in your everyday food which the baby can eat depending on taste, size and texture. When they have all their teeth, roll a chapati with vegetables so that it is easy for them to hold. Always supervise them while they are eating by themselves to avoid any accidents.

Pros of self feeding:

- Develops fine motor skills

- They can eat with everyone at the table

- They become less picky eaters as they watch everyone eating everything at the table.

- Encourages independence

- Child eats as per appetite

Ways to encourage self-feeding:

- Everyone in family sit together to eat.

- Demonstrate or show them frequently how food is eaten with spoon/hand/fork. One day they will get it right.

- Use attractive cutlery.

- Praise them as encouragement.

- Use a high chair designed for babies to eat if it is comfortable.

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