Learning cutlery skills

By June 15, 2024 uncategorizes
child learning to use cutlery with fine motor issues in Bondi Junction and Mascot

Learning to use cutlery is a big step for kids as they become more independent and capable at mealtime. Using a knife, fork, and spoon helps children eat neatly and efficiently, making mealtime more enjoyable for everyone. Let’s explore how children learn cutlery skills and the exciting journey of mastering this important co-ordination skill.

How Children Learn to Use Cutlery

  1. Observation: Children often start by watching others use cutlery, like their parents, siblings, or peers. They observe how utensils are held, how food is picked up, and how bites are taken. This helps them understand the basics of using cutlery.
  2. Imitation: Imitation is a powerful way for children to learn. They may mimic the actions of those around them, picking up a spoon and attempting to scoop food like they’ve seen others do. Through trial and error, they begin to develop their own techniques for using cutlery.
  3. Practice: Like any skill, using cutlery takes practice. Children start by experimenting with holding utensils and trying to pick up small pieces of food. They may initially struggle with coordination and precision but gradually improve with practice over time.
  4. Guidance: Adults and caregivers play an important role in teaching children how to use cutlery. They offer guidance and encouragement, demonstrating proper techniques and providing gentle corrections when needed. Positive reinforcement helps children feel confident and motivated to keep trying.
  5. Independence: As children gain confidence and skill in using cutlery, they become more independent at mealtime. They take pride in being able to feed themselves and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering a new skill.

Exciting Moments in Learning Cutlery Skills

  1. First Attempts: Watching a child’s first attempts at using cutlery is a milestone moment. Even if it’s messy at first, it’s exciting to see them take their first steps toward independent eating.
  2. Successful Scoops: When children successfully scoop up food with a spoon and bring it to their mouth, it’s a moment of triumph. They may beam with pride as they realise they can feed themselves!
  3. Fork Skills: Learning to use a fork can be a bit tricky, but when children master it, it opens up a whole new world of mealtime possibilities. They can stab, scoop, and enjoy a wider variety of foods with their newfound fork skills.
  4. Knife Techniques: Using a knife requires coordination and control. Children may start with a butter knife, learning to spread butter or cut soft foods like pancakes. As they grow more skilled, they may progress to using sharper knives for cutting meat or vegetables.
  5. Confident Independence: When children confidently use cutlery to eat their meals independently, it’s a proud moment for both them and their caregivers. They no longer need assistance and can enjoy mealtime with a newfound sense of independence.


Learning to use cutlery is an exciting journey for children as they become more independent and capable at mealtime. Through observation, imitation, practice, guidance, and perseverance, children develop the skills they need to use utensils effectively. Celebrating the milestones along the way, from first attempts to confident independence, helps children feel proud of their accomplishments and encourages them to continue learning and growing.

We’re here to support you

At OneOnOne Children’s Therapy, we believe that every child deserves the opportunity to grow and thrive.

Our clinics are not just a space for therapy – it’s a place where children can discover their strengths, overcome challenges, and reach their full potential.

By combining innovative therapy techniques with a stimulating and supportive environment, we’re proud to offer a holistic approach to paediatric therapy and early intervention that addresses the unique needs of each child we support.

Reach out for support

If you’re concerned about your child’s development or want to learn more about how Occupational Therapy can help your child’s cutlery skills, OneOnOne Children’s Therapy is here to help.

Call us on (02) 80657837 or email. You can book a free 30 minute phone call with us to discuss how we can support your child’s unique journey