Now that your baby is a toddler, are you starting to think about giving them some silverware with meals? Or maybe you’ve been giving baby utensils for a while, but are ready to transition to ones for older kids? What are the best ones to get?
The best toddler utensils are whatever you have
Let me just put this out there first. I am not one that believes in needing a ton of different paraphernalia to feed your kid. When it comes down to it, most any toddler silverware will work. And by toddler silverware, I really mean things that are simply small enough to fit in your child’s hand and mouth. In fact, the simpler the better, in my opinion.
What about all the specifically-for-toddler utensils?
There are a ton of companies out there trying to sell you all sorts of fancy gadgets that they claim will definitely make your toddler more adept at using silverware. Well, I hate to say it, but they won’t! Because the only thing that will really help is time, practice, modeling, and letting them figure it out by themselves!
By the time your child is a toddler (so in this case, 12 months or older) they really don’t need any of the specifically made for baby silverware. They don’t need the dipping spoons, the short handled nub ones, or anything else. They just need time.
When should your toddler be using silverware?
I get asked this question all the time. And there is no one answer. Some kids really like using silverware and are consistent with it early on- like 14 months. Other kids, even with consistent exposure, still are working at it around two. Both of these scenarios, and so many others, are completely normal and okay! It’s more efficient for most kids to eat with their hands. Don’t blame them for just wanting to get food into their mouths efficiently!
From a developmental standpoint, many kids can’t even move their wrists in a way to use silverware normally until well after a year. And yet many parents expect their kids to be using silverware and not hands before 2. It’s just unrealistic in so many cases. So do your best to take a deep breath, and let your child figure out how to use silverware on their own timeline. I promise, they won’t be 5 and still unable to use it. We don’t need to rush them.
My top picks for toddler utensils
While I truly believe that any utensils will work, I know that you came here wanting some specific options. So I share these as a place to start. But don’t feel like you need to buy these. Really, any small spoon or fork will work!
The basics of toddler silverware
I like to keep everything related to food plastic free at the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatrics. This includes silverware- at least for the part that goes in their mouth. I also prefer to keep things simple with metal heads, and options that look like whatever the silverware used at home looks like, too. So many times, kids just want to use what you’re using! Giving them a toddler fork or spoon version of what you’re using tends to work really well.
My number one pick for toddler silverware
My hands down favorite in our house, and the ones that my daughter goes back to consistently, are these from green sprouts. They seem to fit her hand and her mouth really well. They also come with a knife that she started using to help in the kitchen before we acquired any other kid-safe knives.
Other great kids silverware options
We also love this fork and spoon set from bumpkins baby. They tend to fit well in my daughter’s hand, and she’s able to scoop things fairly easily with them.
Outside of those two options, my go to for kids utensils is Ikea! They have a fully stainless steel toddler utensils set that is very simple, basic and cheap. It works, which is all you really need.
Ikea also has a ton of small forks and spoons in their silverware section. If you are in the store, look for small appetizer spoons and forks. I’ve even seen sets of 6 or more before for those of you looking to stock your kitchen. Again, cheap and simple is golden here!
The bottom line for toddler utensils
Don’t feel that you need to get anything fancy! Focus on silverware that fits your toddler’s mouth and hands. And that usually just means a smaller size. Different kids will prefer different ones, but don’t feel the need to try out a ton. Start giving one to your child at meals, and just let them get used to it. They’ll use it eventually! Don’t search high and low for one that will magically make them pick it up and use it properly immediately. Chances are, you’re not going to find that!
Hi! I know you don’t generally recommend plastic, but daycare doesn’t allow metal forks. We want our 13-month old daughter to be able to practice using utensils because she has so many of her meals there (and she loves using utensils at home). We’ve tried a bunch already, but for most of them, the plastic tines won’t actually pick anything up. I can’t even get them to work! We used the Grabease for awhile, but the daycare workers have asked us to bring in some bigger ones, since my daughter is apparently trying to stick the entire thing in her mouth (!?!). Any suggestions? Thank you!
I do not have any recommendations for plastic since I do not use them, but what you find that fits your child’s hand (and that she can’t put entirely in her mouth) is the perfect fit!