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This page contains resources pertaining to Teacher Education, Parent Education and School Promotion. The site is used by educators from more than 60 countries and averages about 1800 views per month.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010

You and Your Infant - Eating with Grace

By Krista Delaney

This can’t really be possible…….or can it?

Around six months of age, your child will progress from needing help to sit up to sitting up on his own. The use of his hands is continuing to become more coordinated each and every day. You have probably thought about or have already started to feed him some soft foods like cereal and vegetables. What an exciting time for both of you. Just think, new flavors and varieties of food for your child and a little more freedom for you. With a little bit of patience, you can begin teaching your child, who is now sitting up, to feed himself with you.

To begin, some supplies are necessary: a small plate or bowl, a small fork and spoon, a damp cloth or napkin and a small glass. I did say glass not sippy cup! Your child has already mastered the art of sucking and now you can offer him the opportunity to learn how to actually drink from a small glass. (I’ll get back to that later.) A small salad or desert plate is the perfect size to start with as well as a berry or small bowl. This small plate and bowl offer a couple of things. First, they are the perfect size to put a small quantity of food on. Not too much to overwhelm your child, just enough to be able to pierce a soft piece of cooked vegetable or fruit. It also leaves enough room to have a piece already on the fork waiting for your child to pick up when he is ready to try on his own. Now, don’t forget that he has been putting rattles, teething toys and anything else he has gotten his hands around into his mouth. He knows where it is! He has had a lot of practice already but now comes the joy of putting actual food into his own mouth. What a step towards independence for him! You can work together, him getting a piece into his mouth, maybe by hand, maybe by fork, alternating with you feeding him the rest until he becomes more proficient with the process and precision. The joy you will both feel with each success will be priceless. Remember;always start out with just a few items on the plate. He soon will learn that there is always more available.

Now, back to that small glass! This is the test of true patience and faith, especially at the beginning. Some suggestions for the perfect size glass are a shot glass or even a small votive candleholder. Either is the perfect size for your child’s little hands to wrap around and lift to her mouth. She will probably need a bit of help at first, but with some relaxed encouragement and gentle guidance this is very possible! In the beginning, she will need help to wrap her hands wrap around that tiny glass, guiding it up to her mouth and finally tipping it, just enough, to get a bit of liquid into her mouth. The surprise of getting that drink into her mouth is worth a picture!

It may seem a bit awkward at first, but soon enough, whether you know it or not, you will be showing off your infant when you go to your favorite restaurant. Heads will be turning towards your family’s table to see that tiny child who is drinking from a tiny glass, no sippy cup, eating off a plate, not the table and using a fork! They won’t believe their eyes and you won’t feel prouder at any moment. That is your child, and you have done a fantastic job of helping your child on the road to independence! Give yourself a pat on the back! What an accomplishment for both you and your child!

Krista completed the AMI A to I Training in 2001 and taught a toddler class for five years. Following this position, she  helped fill a need at Countryside Montessori School and moved back into the position of leading the Primary Physical Education Program, where she has been for five years and remains today. In addition to her responsibilities in the gym, Krista has also mentored the incoming toddler teachers for four years, and she has conducted a Parent Infant class for nine years. Krista is also staff member for the Montessori Teachers Institute On-Site Professional Development program.

Click here to download the full pdf file:  YouandYourInfantEatingwithGrace.pdf

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