The ability to use cutlery can be tricky for your child and young person to learn. Our team of Occupational Therapists have put together this information to help you support your child to use cutlery independently.
The following activities use some of the same skills necessary for using cutlery. They will give your child opportunity to practice the skills, other than at mealtimes.
Begin by encouraging your child to point using their index finger (the finger nearest the thumb).
To help your child remember which finger it is, let your child name this finger (‘Peter pointer’ for example).
Your child’s pointer finger should be pointing and resting on the knife and fork as shown to help improve their control of the cutlery. Ideally, their dominant hand or hand they use for handwriting should hold the knife.
Next we use short and concise prompts: “STAB, SLIDE AND SAW” as shown in the pictures below.
STAB your fork into the food.
SLIDE your knife down the fork
SAW the food with your knife. Encourage a sawing motion rather than just pressing down on the food.
Ensure the plate does not slip, by using a tablecloth, non-slip mat, or sticky tack to stick the plate to the table. Moulded cutlery can be purchased which has built in grooves to help with the positioning of the hand. It may help putting stickers or nail polish as a visual aid for your child to remember where the index finger should rest on the cutlery.
The following examples demonstrate the type and quality of product you may want to copy. We do not endorse any brands.
Children’s Cutlery – specially shaped with finger indents for better control.
Adult Cutlery – discretely shaped with finger indents for better control.
Young children’s cutlery – designed for young children
How to access Occupational Therapy for Children and Young People.
To make a Request for Assistance please contact us on 02921 836910. Please click here for more information on our Request for Assistance process.
Occupational Therapy for Children and Young People
1st Floor, Woodland House
Maes Y Coed Road
Phone: 02921 836 910
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