Why encourage spoon feeding?
Using a spoon is developmentally important. Using a spoon and bringing our hands to the middle of our body (midline) and crossing midline is an important skill. Crossing midline promotes the communication of the left and right hemispheres of our brain.
Children should start to eat with a spoon around 12-14 months old. Remember, children will be messy as they figure out how to feed themselves with a spoon. It’s okay to be a messy eater when you are a baby or young child. In fact, messy eating is an important sensory experience where your child can safely push out of their comfort zone. Sometimes without these messy spoon feeding experiences, children can become picky eaters. In fact, children who are overly clean while eating or who do not play with their food can develop sensory integration and oral aversions toward new foods.
Feeding with a spoon is beneficial for eye-hand coordination, developing a grasping pattern, improving posture, strengthening important muscle groups in the upper body, promoting independence with eating, and is a great sensory integration activity.
Ideas to encourage spoon feeding:
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