View Full Version : Quick Question

18-02-2015, 01:25 PM
I look after a child holiday's only. He is now 4½. He still:

- absentmindedly stands on toys (like the really little ones do)
- Still sticks toys in his mouth
- Will eat most of a meal using his fingers. Putting pieces onto his fork or popping it into his mouth.

I just feel that he should have moved on from the first two.

With the second, he should have had enough help and support to be able to eat a lot better. I know some bits are tricky so I don't mind if a child of his age uses his hands a little bit, but he would almost feed himself with his hands, the whole meal, if I didn't keep reminding him or moving his hand away from the plate.

I am in a bad mood this week so maybe over reacting. What do you think?

18-02-2015, 01:37 PM
I would expect 4.5 yr olds to have moved out of all of these phases. I think at this age you can teach children to watch where they are going, respect for toys/furniture, hygiene (certainly not putting toys in their mouths - I associate this with under 2s!) and eating with utensils. Surely all of these things link to school readiness and I'm assuming he is in reception?

18-02-2015, 01:48 PM
My friend's two children used to eat everything with their fingers. I remember being at her house one day and watching in amazement as they shoveled fish fingers, chips & beans into their mouths using their hands. They were about 7 and 8 at the time!
She said it was just something they had always done. They both ate very quickly and I think it was too slow for them to use cutlery. They made an awful mess no matter what they ate, with crumbs and bits all over the table, them & the floor.

I know that doesn't help you at all, but your post brought just reminded me of it!

I guess with them it wasn't a developmental delay, it was they way they were brought up. They could eat with cutlery, they just chose not to. With your mindee it could be a development issue or a habit. Have you asked how he eats at home or school? It's probably a bit late now, but for my mindees that are going to school in September I have sent a letter home about school readiness and what parents should be helping their child with (ie. putting on own coat & shoes, eating properly etc). It's my polite way of telling some of them to stop babying their children and let them grow up!

18-02-2015, 02:55 PM
I am a bit of a stickler for table manners and this child woudnt be allowed to use fingers at the table at this age unless there was a real developmental delay ( which would be apparent from other activities )
I sit with my mindees and am currently teaching the 4 year olds to use their knives and forks properly , with the knife in the dominant hand and the fork being used as a fork not as a shovel! I know perfectly well from their reactions that this is alien to them and they never do this at home , or at school , but its another skill I think they should be acquiring by around 4.

18-02-2015, 06:29 PM
It's tricky when you don't have the child that much and have little input into his upbringing. Are there any other issues that concern you? My first thought at the age he is was that it could be a sensory thing. Does he do anything else like stuff food/walk on tip toes/dislike touch etc? If not then it could just be the way he is being brought up which is hard to challenge!

22-02-2015, 05:38 PM
He eats like this at home and it is accepted as "normal". I had him full time from 10mths to 2½. He was baby led weaned but right from quite young used cutlery and ate off a bowl/plate here. However he ate off a mat with his fingers at home and at the other childminders for quite sometime, despite me keep saying how great he did with me.

I insist on good table manners but it's exasperating when the 20mth and 2yr olds eat better than him. The 20mth treads on toys but that is kind of expected at her age.

He had a bit of a turbulent time after leaving me with settings. His development has suffered slightly because of this, and he was referred for developmental delay but it was felt there was no real issue, just the lack of consistency had left him behind.

I just feel for him really. My own children 9 & 5 really hate his eating and I'm sure it won't be long before his little school friends get funny about it too.

I am going to have to think of a strategy for Easter.

22-02-2015, 08:30 PM
How about making some play dough and adding knives and forks so that he can experiment with them. I think that making a visual poster/reminder of the good eating rules would help immensely. You could use it as a reminder before each meal and focus on praising each tiny effort he makes. I heard a great motto once - 'What you pay attention to is what you get the most of' and it really works. I know we all know that anyway but I have to remind myself of that motto when a particular behaviour starts to bug me. I would also mention it at pick up time in a jolly way, even include the child "Tell mummy/daddy what we were practising today at meal time..."

With the walking on toys (I hate that too) could you then say to him, "oh, you trod on the books - could you please pick them up and put them away?" He might soon get the message if it means he has to put away toys that he didn't necessarily get out. Does that totally contradict my first paragraph about focusing on the positives?

Don't really know what to say about the mouthing of objects. Maybe someone will come along soon with advice on that one.

23-02-2015, 08:06 AM
I have a 3 yo that always put toys in her mouth... chews and slabbers all over them. It drives me up the wall and I have made very little if any head way in almost a year so now every time she puts a toy in her mouth I take it off her... no warning given anymore as I used to warn a dozen times a day... she is not impressed especially if it was a toy she was waiting to play with... Each time I take the toy away I tell her about germs getting into toys

23-02-2015, 08:14 AM
Ive done the same as Tess with one of my 2 year olds - and she has got much better. If she puts a toy in her mouth it gets taken off her.

lollipop kid
23-02-2015, 01:48 PM
I had a child like this a while ago. He used to put everything in his mouth, even at 3 and a half. He would chew lumps off things, just because he could.

I suggested his mum got him a special chew toy that would be just his, so that when he needed to chew something, he could. It helped a lot. Eventually, I think he stopped. (Mum also considered an amber necklace, but he had a baby sister at the time who would have grabbed it and possibly hurt him, so that was a no-no.)

Here's a link in case it helps. It was a big step talking to Mum about it, but she understood as he was doing exactly the same thing at home, so Mum was desperate for a solution as well.

All the best,


Search - SpecialNeedsToys.com (http://www.specialneedstoys.com/uk/search?orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=chewing&submit_search=)