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Using fingers and forks to eat food?


Happy New Year!

My LO is 15 months and eats well with his fingers and sometimes just with a fork. The problem is, if I give him a meal that has carrots, for example, he will pick them up and eat them with his hands. Should I be encouraging more use of the fork now and not fingers? Also, how do I explain to him that it is okay to eat some foods with fingers like sandwiches and fruit and others with a fork? Yikes, hope someone can offer some advice!


  • i personally think at your lo's age fingers are fine, they are the best tool for the job sometimes!! Hayden is 27months and is very skilled with spoon, fork and knife but will still use his fingers sometimes. eating the way society expcets takes time to learn and if they have good role models in us then they will learn in time. our big battle at the mo is keeping his bottom on the seat for more than a few mouthfulls!!! i keep joking with dh i am going to but some velcro! lol
  • I have this disagreement with my husband!! My son is 39months and can use a spoon, fork and cut with a knife perfectly well but will mostly opt to eat with his fingers!! He'll even prefer to try to eat soup and yoghurt with his fingers sometimes!!

    This doesn't bother me, he's always been a fussy eater so I am just grateful that he's eating but hubby has started to get onto him when he does this!!

    I don't see, as long as their hands are clean, what the issue is. He can use cutlery but he likes to explore the textures with his hands and we are always told to let babies play with their food so how are you supposed to tell a toddler its wrong?!!
  • I agree with claire-abelle, if their hands are clean and they are eating then I'm happy!!

    ds1 is 22 months now and prefers to eat with his hands - the messier the better!! :roll:

    He can use a fork (not knife so much at the moment) but opts for the hands to mouth - I expect so he can shovel more in! :lol: xx
  • I ask my son (now 2.5) to try to use his fork and spoon, but don't have a problem with him using his fingers as long as he is eating and not messing about (which he sometimes is!) - like some of the others have said, as long as hands are clean and they are enjoying their food! I guess the distinction between what is finger food and what isn't needs to come from watching us - 'can you try to use your fork like mummy?' or something similar. Always give a fork/spoon when you want him ti use one, even if he still uses his fingers. Sometimes fingers are just easier though!
  • my 14month old daughter holds her fork but has obviously decided the food gets into her mouth quicker using her hands, im happy with whatever she wants to do for now!
  • Anyone who thinks that a toddler should never use their fingers should be given chopsticks to eat their meal. Any child under the age of 5 is still learning how to use knives and forks and by picking things up and touching them they learn about textures, which foods are best for spoons or forks and which foods need cutting. Try and eat a full roast dinner with chopsticks and you will resort to fingers for some of it. If you were prevented from doing this you would become adverse to mealtimes and especially some foods.

    I give Abby a knife, fork and spoon for every meal so she can choose what she uses. If i feel she is using her fingers for a food item she is familiar with and has used a fork previously (eg chips or carrots) then I will say "Use your fork, sweetie". If she does I say "Good girl" but don't make too much of it. If she refuses then I ignore her because it's likely she's going to start showing off. As soon as she starts to play with her food we remove the plate.

    H x
  • Charlotte is 21 months and although very good at using a spoon and a fork will usually resort to eating dinner with her fingers whether its beans, pasta or pie. I do remind her to use her fork but dont fuss too much if she uses her hand. At least she eats !
  • Hi,

    Thanks for all of your replies.

    I have decided to encourage my LO to use the fork at every meal, unless it is sandwiches etc. He seems to enjoy it more when I help him use the fork so we are sticking with what works best for us. If he uses his fingers at times, that is okay, no stress.
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