Last Updated: 25 July 2016
I made some notes when my little Verity was eating some chicken and corn soup (click here for the recipe) one day after being asked by a parent about how to encourage a toddler to eat soup. This is what I figured were some good tips to get you started.
1) Bread is a great tool for dipping into the soup (and so are fingers). Bread is also one of Verity’s preferred foods, so she is more than happy to suck the soup straight off it and then go again for some more soup.
2) The bowl has high sides. So, when she does try the spoon, she can motor plan to use the side of the bowl to keep the liquid on.
3) The soup is not watery thin increasing the chance of getting to her mouth.
4) The spoon that I have provided for her to use has a good angle for holding and getting into a toddler’s mouth. The action of spooning something out of the bowl and twisting it to get around into the mouth can only be helped by having an appropriate angle on the spoon.
5) The spoon itself is not too shallow but also not too deep. This means she can get the right right quantity into her mouth that she feels comfortable with. If your child seems overwhelmed by how much they put in their mouth (and possibly gags) have a look at the volume of food on the spoon. Alternatively, if they are getting frustrated, try a bigger spoon.
6) Embrace the mess by reminding yourself about the amazing sensory system inputs your child get by making a mess with food while they are learning to eat.
7) Give them a safe opt-out option if they get too much sensory input from the soup. This means a way for them to get themselves out of sensory “trouble” – their own washer for them to use themselves, a napkin to spit into, an extra bowl to rest their bread in etc.
8) Eat with them so they can learn from you. #onefamilyonemeal
I love this picture that was posted by Little People Nutrition on Instagram – originally from @amieeats … It shows what sort of utensils she tried out for her children while they were “learning to eat” (aka being fussy).
Some other favourite “utensils” in our house include using vegie chips as spoons – sweet potato, kale, zucchini and eggplant for example. We also love chopsticks, sporks and cocktail forks.
What are some utensils your children have loved while they have been learning to eat, use cutlery or try independently feeding themselves soup?