When is the right time to start teaching your kid manners?!

A few months ago I read blog post @ Classy Chaos, where it was mentioned that spoon feeding isn’t a common parenting practice in the United States. American moms don’t do that? Is that right?! So, what’s not American in feeding your baby with a spoon!? Is it about how to teach them to be independent right from the start? Do American infants bake chocolate cookies and apple pies, as well?! I know that’s pain in butt to unteach them to not to be fed by theΒ  parent anymore… but still… what do you feed your baby when it’s a few months old, and you don’t use a spoon?!

I’m just curious because these day’s I’m going through really tough times of teaching my daughter how to use a spoon and not to play with the food.

I’ve spoon feed my daughter since she was about 7 months old. She is almost 15 months and I still do that. She can eat by herself when she wants to. Most of the time her feeding style looks like that, though:

Crazy Days of Summer

or that:

When I put plate in front of her she eats from it for a few minutes, after that she moves the food on the table and starts to eat from the table instead the plate. After a while she starts splashing and smashing and doing everything else but not eating it. All the food lands on the floor, on our dog, on me, sometimes on the walls. For the last two weeks I’ve tried to let her feed herself with the spoon. She doesn’t get that. I’m so frustrating every single time I sit to feed her. I used to work as a nanny for TWINS. From what I remember when they were 15 months they could feed themselves pretty good, and I can’t remember how I did that!!! I taught them how to use the spoon, but I can’t do that with my own child!!! Almost every single time when I let her use the spoon me and her end up in the shower. We are both covered from head to toe in food. Literally. If that’s not enough my husband just asked me when we should start teaching her manners. You know… like… when we should start teaching her that it’s not ok to play with her food, and it’s not ok to throw plates on the floor, etc. I know I let her to do that, and now I’m going to pay for that. I let her play with food thinking it’s cute and funny. The answer to my husband’s questions is… we shouldn’t let her be doing it right from the start.

But after a few times I got tired of saying: No, No, No… Don’t do that… No… Don’t… Nooooooooooo…. Pleaseee…. Nooo… .

Now we are both tired of her being such a messy eater. I mean he is tired of WATCHING her being such a messy eater. I am tired of cleaning the floor, table, myself, and my daughter 3 times (or more) a day. On the other hand the only thing I want to is to take the spoon in my hand and do not let her touch anything what looks like a spoon, or food until she is 10!!!

I don’t want that post to be so depressing and all about how tired I am of my Little One. I am, that’s for sure but which mother is not at some point?!

I just keep remind to myself that not so happy messy feeding times happen only 3 times a day. Happy dancing times and “yoga poses” times happen almost every hour or so. πŸ™‚

Those happy times make up for those not so happy and frustrating times. When I watch her playing and dancing all the frustration and anger goes away, and I do not remember it anymore… until the next feeding time (sigh!!!)

Oh… parenting…

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27 thoughts on “When is the right time to start teaching your kid manners?!

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  1. Well if I am not mistaken, I am American and I fed my kids with spoons. My 18 month old is a fairly clean eater but just will not give in to utensils. I get your frustration. In their own time I guess.


    1. lol… I guess every kid is different, less or more messy, I need to just be more patient… but sometimes I don’t know how more patient I could be… it seems like there is a point where being even more patient is not possible πŸ™‚ hm… parenting is an art… πŸ™‚
      btw, it’s my favorite word for today: PATIENT.


  2. “Oh, parenting” is right! lol

    It’s so much fun. I am so definitely more “American” than my American friends with this. I let my kids feed themselves as soon as they showed interest in it. Now, my oldest is learning to use the fork in the left hand and knife on the right, while Baby is 1 1/2 and using her hands and utensil to feed herself, not so messily anymore. All my American friends think that’s crazy because of the mess factor but hey, to each their own.

    The mess stops when they start realizing it’s not so new anymore to play with the food. They get over the novelty of it.

    Have you tried letting her play with playdough during the day to get over playing with food? For some, that works.

    She is just so adorable! My “baby” was watching her dance, saying “Dat baby! huh huh baby doey?” and wanted to watch the video 3 times. Too cute.



    1. Oh… I’m so jealous right now! πŸ™‚ I wish my daughter was eating like that. I should take a few pictures of how we both look when she eats with spoon πŸ™‚
      It’s not that she can’t feed herself. She does that all the time… it’s that she really really like to throw, and spread the food everwhere. First I thought it’s normal, but after weeks I realized it’s not really good to let her doing that.
      And NO, I haven’t tried the playdough? Sounds like a great idea! Thanks!
      btw, give a hug to your Little One, she sounds like a sweetheart πŸ™‚
      MiΕ‚ego Dnia!


  3. Also an American and also spoon fed each of my 6 kids and the babies I have cared for in my daycare. Kids are just funny, they like to feel the food when they eat it. they eventually will learn to use spoons and forks, when is a matter of the child. Don’t give up! Offer the soppn at every meal, she’ll get it figured out πŸ™‚


  4. Oh, messy eating–that make for lots of great photo ops! It is really a question of what work you want to do–cleaning up the mess or spoon feeding her yourself. We found contentment in serving small, not so messy, finger foods (like dry cherrios, little bits of cheese or meat (she loved meat) even chopped up pears or peaches) as soon as she could, but yogurt and applesauce was spoon fed until at least 18 months probably later. I don’t remember with each child. I do know my 3rd one took to using utensils much quicker than the older two.

    Adorable photos and daughter!


    1. thank you for your comment and support. I’ve been doing the same with my daughter. I give her cheese, and meat, apples, and different fruits and veggies, but sometimes even with those foods she throws everything on the floor, or smashes and spread it all over the tabel… I think it’s just her personality…


    1. o yes… she’s got some attitude, that’s for sure πŸ™‚ I tried to be a bit more firm with the food today what got her very frustrated… hm… will see in a few days πŸ™‚ I just need to be patient! thanks for stopping by!


  5. She’s an adorable mess! Love those animated motion shots! πŸ™‚ And that last pic? So cute! Good luck in teaching her mealtime manners. I’ve got no advice. Look at the mess my 2 year old makes when she eats yogurt: http://liveandloveoutloud.com/about/myohana/ (scroll to the bottom)
    Thanks for joining Alicia and I in the Crazy Days of Summer Photo Challenge. I hope you’ll be back again next week when we move on to our new theme, bubbles. Have a great weekend. πŸ™‚


    1. OMG! Your Little One is definitely a messy eater. I do not give to my daughter yougurt to hold. I hold it, she eats it dipping the spoon. I can’t imagine what she would do with that yogurt… I’ll try to link-up next week if I have any “bubbly” photo πŸ™‚ have a great day!


  6. Every kid is different, I have been in the process of teaching the boy (14 months almost 15) how to use a fork / spoon. We have a good spoon system, I give him the spoon full of food, he eats it, then we switch spoons…but whenever I give him the bowl he sticks his hand and the utensil in there, so we have some work there. Good luck!


    1. I totally agree that every kid is different. Mine has the idea of how to use the spoon, but as yours, whenever I give her a cup with yougurt she puts her entire hand inside. So far she has no idea what fork is… πŸ™‚ Have a great day!


  7. I can’t give any advice about helping kids to be less messy eaters as I don’t have any kids myself other than saying good luck! Your daughter is definitely a cutie though!


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