Experts consider 2 years to be the point at which a kid should be able to comfortably manipulate spoons and forks on their own, but reaching that milestone means starting much earlier. After a year, they should be able to hold a spoon, so begin by guiding their spoon into your bowl of food and then back to their mouths. Once this process is established, introduce their own bowl to the mix and give them time to put it all together. The process with a fork is basically the same, although food selection is key earlier on or you’re liable to frustrate them. Stick with easy-to-stab stuff like cheese cubes and chicken nuggets initially and — above all else — don’t fight the mess. Even if you could control it (you can’t), the process of picking food up, dropping it and trying again is exactly how kids learn to control utensils. Consider it a 10-to-12 month license to engage in a mellow, daily food fight.