1. Start when they are ready and interested. Some children are ready before others, pushing a child who isn't interested may be a waste of time. You know your child better than anyone.
2. Be prepared for a MESS, and lots of cringing on your part.
3. Start by scooping the food for your child and handing the spoon to them. Think thick, mushy, foods that stick to the spoon, like thickened oatmeal, yogurt, applesauce, and soggy cereal.
4. Bowls and plates with suction cups are a lifesaver at this stage! Urge your kids to scoop food from the suctioned bowls. Make it singsongy, "Scooooooooooooop and taste!" (You can practice the mechanics of scooping at the sandbox or with dirt at the park with a shovel and pail).
5. Offer the right utensils, short handles are easiest. There are great utensils on the market geared towards toddlers.
6. Eat together. They'll love to watch you eat with a spoon or fork while they're doing the same. Make a big deal about it, "We're both eating with a spoon!"
7. Sometimes your kiddo might do better with less attention. Give them the tools then stand back and watch while you do dishes or cook. Many kids do better with space to explore on their own.
7. Give it time. Even if your child is ready to start using utensils, it may take a while. They will figure it out!