Chopsticks -- When and how to teach kids?

Filed under: Nutrition: Health, Development/Milestones: Babies

Remember the swordfight in The Princess Bride? Inigo is on the ropes and the Man in Black asks why he is smiling. The answer is "Because I know something you do not know... I am not left-handed." I could use that line at the dinner table -- I use chopsticks with my left hand better than most Americans do with their right. I'm even better with my right hand. I don't remember, however, learning to use chopsticks; I pretty much used them my whole life.

Now that I have kids, I want to teach them to use chopsticks properly as well. The problem is, I have no idea when I should start teaching them or how to go about it. I found a study that found that, on average, children in China are able to learn to use chopsticks at four-and-a-half, but it's not clear how early the children were or should be started to achieve that. As for the how, I have seen novelty sets where the two are joined at or near the top; Slashfood did a write-up of some and even linked to instructions on how to make your own. Or, you can get a ready-made converter. I'm not sure, however, if they would help or hinder the learning process. I know there are also child-sized chopsticks and chopsticks with a loop for the thumb, which sounds like it might be a good idea. But what really works best? When should I start teaching the kids to use them? What's the best way to teach them? I'd love to hear any advice or tips you might have!
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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.
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