Gransnet forums


Grandchildren’s lack of using cutlery

(82 Posts)
Armynanny Sat 28-Aug-21 12:34:21

I’m sure there’s been a thread on this before but do any others get annoyed by the fact that their grandchildren don’t seem to be able to use cutlery correctly to eat their food? Our grandchildren are 5 and 7 and still use their fingers to eat a lot of their food. We taught our children from an early age to use their cutlery and insisted they used it.

Hithere Sat 28-Aug-21 12:40:03

What do their parents say?

Let them handle it.

JaneJudge Sat 28-Aug-21 12:42:30

It isn't something that has ever bothered me in all honesty. As a species we were designed to use our hands. They are only 5 and 7 and I have never known any adult not be able to use cutlery correctly, even my own adult dd can and she has a severe learning disability!

MerylStreep Sat 28-Aug-21 12:49:36

I still use my fingers to eat a lot of food and I’m 75.
I have to admit that mash potato can cause a mess. Only joking about the mash in case someone takes it seriously.
As I always say: don’t sweat the small stuff 😊

ElaineI Sat 28-Aug-21 12:53:18

No doesn't matter to me. Worse things to get annoyed at.

eazybee Sat 28-Aug-21 12:54:03

You must have led a very sheltered life if you have never seen adults unable to use cutlery correctly. Stabbing food with a fork, head as close to the plate of food as possible to shovel pasta in, spearing chunks of meat and eating round it like a lollipop.
The dinner ladies at school were shocked by the increasing number of children who ate with their hands, including wet food like stews, and even some who attempted to lick their plates clean.
Just laziness on the part of the parents, plus the fact that many families eat off trays in front of the television.
As a species we have brains which enable us to design then use implements with our hands which makes life easier.

BBbevan Sat 28-Aug-21 12:57:24

My GDs ate with their fingers. We bought them really nice child size cutlery, which they use at our house. Don’ t care what they do at their house, but If we eat out at least they know what they are supposed to do.

Ginpin Sat 28-Aug-21 13:06:00

Doesn't matter to me either.

What is annoying is food waste.

I ask my grandchildren how much they want and then they have to eat it all. There is always more if they are hungry.

At all 3 homes of the grandchildren there is waste.

I always ate up and so did our girls but they do not seem to mind wasted food.

So as long as the food is eaten I don't worry about how they eat it grin

Sara1954 Sat 28-Aug-21 13:06:12

Yes I’m afraid it does annoy me. The two year old I can accept, but the older ones really should be using cutlery properly.
They live with us, and it’s one of the very few things I can’t turn a blind eye to.
I can’t recall seeing them ever use a knife, they spear food with their forks, wave it around everywhere, oh Yuk!
After meals they aren’t allowed to touch anything till they have washed their hands.

Germanshepherdsmum Sat 28-Aug-21 13:16:08

If they can’t use cutlery what do they do at school or if eating out? These children are school age, not babies. Surely it’s a parent’s duty to teach how use cutlery and that once old enough to use cutlery using fingers is not acceptable for ‘knife and fork’ food? Would they still use nappies or a potty?

Namsnanny Sat 28-Aug-21 13:18:20

Lots of the food nowadays doesn't necessarily need a knife and fork. Burgers, dips, takeaways, wraps.
I think this causes children to think differently about how to use a knife and fork

Maybe parents nowadays don't value this form of manners?

I dont like to see anyone who isnt eating 'properly'! It can stop me from enjoying my own food at times.

I actually value some of the old fashioned manners more now that people are moving away from them.

Namsnanny Sat 28-Aug-21 13:19:49

Being properly potty trained is a bug bear with teachers when 4 yr olds start school.

Lots arent now apparently.

Granmarderby10 Sat 28-Aug-21 13:34:24

The children of today are rarely if ever given real 🥩. Chicken nuggets yes, in fact chicken everything these days isn’t it? Ever tried giving ( more like wasting) something like a lamb chop or a steak, gammon or a proper fish?

MerylStreep Sat 28-Aug-21 13:42:04

For a significant amount of children from the Asian community eating with your fingers is perfectly normal as it’s their culture.
As for children licking their plates. Has it not crossed your mind that maybe in the home they grow up in they might not have had enough to eat.

Blondiescot Sat 28-Aug-21 13:49:40

Well, Granmaderby10, I can assure you my grandson, who is almost 4, eats proper food, and has done since he was weaned. We went to Turkey on holiday when he was two, and he loved tucking into the local food, including delicious slow cooked leg of lamb! He loves his fruit and veg too and will happily much away on a cucumber for a snack. He, like my own children, is being brought up to eat proper home cooked meals and to help grow fruit and veg in the garden, then pick and eat it.

timetogo2016 Sat 28-Aug-21 13:49:49

If my grandchildren used their fingers instead of cutlery the food would be taken from them,thankfully it has never been a bone of contention.
Obviously finger food is a different matter.

hollysteers Sat 28-Aug-21 13:49:54

Table manners really matter to me and every child should be taught good manners in this department as it is to make other people feel comfortable too. We are tribal creatures and it’s good to fit in with the rules of the tribe socially.
I agree about fork waving, horrible. My to do list includes not starting your meal before everyone else, excusing yourself from the table, no phones when eating out, no lip smacking, not holding your knife like a pencil, putting knife and fork together when finished, not blowing your nose loudly at the table (I have a friend who does this grr) etc.
I sound a right fussy so and so lol 😁

hollysteers Sat 28-Aug-21 13:55:12

Exceptions of course for other cultures but I would still expect the same if they had been living here for a while. My long term Asian friends conform to our ways dining out and if I’m abroad, I do as the Romans.

Tea3 Sat 28-Aug-21 14:03:51

My grandchildren’s nursery do an outstanding job of teaching the children to use cutlery. They were very proficient before their third birthday. It can be done.

grandtanteJE65 Sat 28-Aug-21 14:15:45

I understand very well OP why this annoys you. Table manners was one of the social skills we taught our children, but a lot of today's parents see things differently.

I would advise you to say nothing at all about this, either to the children or their parents.

Children today are generally speaking allowed "babyish" behaviour for far longer than we were, or our children were. The thinking behind it seems to be, as far as I have been able to ascertain, that children learn the skills they need quickly if left until they or their peer group feels the skill in question is necessary.

Whether this works or not, I cannot say, but I can say that most children learn to use knife, fork and spoon correctly at some point.

Time to point out that there are better ways of doing things than eating everything with their fingers, if they are still doing it when they are around fifteen,

I can assure you that their parents will see any remarks you make right now about their children's table manners as interference.

On the other hand, if you feel you must do something about it, and your regularly have the children visiting on their own, make a game of it. "Today we will try to eat the way Grannie was taught when she was your ages. Sit up straight, elbows off the table and use your fork and knife."

If it is light-hearted enough and made good fun, who knows?It might work

nanna8 Sat 28-Aug-21 14:21:33

Elbows off the table seems to be quite a cultural thing. People don’t bother with it much here. Never even think of it. A lot of people eat with forks and don’t use a knife much or just cut their food up and then use forks only. When we were in China they would hold the bowl up to their mouth and literally shovel the food in with chopsticks. Efficient if nothing else.

Sara1954 Sat 28-Aug-21 14:23:59

Finishing each other’s meals, swapping meals, covering everything, and I mean everything, in tomato sauce! Swinging back on chairs, dropping food, liking something one day, but not the next, not finishing meals, then getting snacks, I could go on…..

JenniferEccles Sat 28-Aug-21 14:29:07

I am really surprised to see some people insisting that proper table manners, including the ability to use a knife and fork, don’t matter.
They absolutely DO matter.
It’s just another aspect of socialising a child, training them in all aspects of polite behaviour (age appropriate of course)

Parents teach their children to speak, and, hopefully gently correct them when they make mistakes, and managing at the table with cutlery is part of this teaching.

harrigran Sat 28-Aug-21 14:35:58

There seems to be a serious lack of table manners these days. I taught my children from a very early age to eat politely and they in turn taught their children.
A lot of adults could do with an etiquette course too before eing allowed in restaurants.

LovelyCuppa Sat 28-Aug-21 15:15:39

It seems that most posters on here feel they did an excellent job of teaching their children how to do everything right. I wonder why their children don't feel it is that important?

I don't mean this in a goady way! I genuinely wonder why their children don't find it that important, even if it was drilled into them from a young age.