Spilling Food

photograph of Caillou crushed by pumpkin (c) Katrien Vander Straeten

(another victim of spilled food)

I’m in a quandary. Amie is 22 months old now and eats by herself, with a metal teaspoon and from a small glas bowl – we’ve done away with most of the plastics. She is pretty good at scooping up her food and getting it into her mouth. Still, often some food gets away.

Then it falls on the floor and is wasted.

We’re talking about 1/5 of the dry foods, like pasta shells and rice, and less of her cheerios with milk. She spills almost none of wet foods, like yogurt and pudding, because they stick to the spoon more.

I want to urge her to eat more carefully and spill less, but is she ready, motor-skill-wise? I don’t want to criticize her feeding skills and berate her for wasting food if she is physically not capable yet of doing a better job.

So how – and at what age – did/do you deal with this problem?

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  1. My son is 22 months as well, and while he too eats on his own, with his own utensils and plates/bowls and cups he still makes messes. I don’t sweat it though because I have a dog, chickens and a compost pile so food is never wasted around here. My daughter is 42 months old and she rarely ever spills on the floor on purpose. I say it like this because she has always been very viseral with food, anything really. She had to touch it, taste it, smell it, smear it, mix it, you get the idea. She finds food textures interesting I guess! :) So her spot at the table can tend to be messy, but the floor mess is not much of a problem anyway. So, somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd year her coordination got better as did her understanding and general dislike of making a mess. Is it possible for you to have a compost pile or worms maybe? Might be a good excuse to get a dog! :)

  2. My opinion, that comes with kids. There isn’t much you can do about it. My kids spill food and we do what we can to minimize it. We have a dog, who gets some of her daily food requirements from dropped food now. We just cut back on her dog food.

    Additionally, if you have a compost pile you can put those materials in there so they are at least being used to nourish your garden instead of your child.

    It will pass. After they get to about 3, maybe 4 they really cut back on what they drop. Practice makes perfect anyway.

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