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Your 4-year-old now
By now your child can maneuver a spoon to her mouth without spilling cereal or (much) soup. She can drink from a lidless cup without spilling, though you'd be wise to stick to small, unbreakable cups for a while yet. But she'll still need help with cutting her food. There are three big reasons: First, sharp knives are dangerous in little hands, and it can be hard to supervise from across the table. Second, your child still lacks the coordination to work both fork and knife together when cutting. And third, choking is still a risk, so you want to make sure that foods are eaten in bite-size portions.
Your life now
Constantly reminding preschoolers to wash their hands and wipe their noses is a drag for everyone. Fortunately your child now has a love of ritual that you can use to your advantage in teaching basic hygiene.
Make hand-washing part of every meal or play routine. "Remember, we always wash up after coming in from outside." "Wash your hands and then take your seat." Spend some time modeling the right way to do it. And leave a step stool in front of the sink if it makes it easier for your child to reach. Keep a supply of hand sanitizer available on outings.
Teach your child to sneeze or cough into the crook of her elbow (rather than spraying the room or sneezing into her hands, which will then touch other surfaces in the room). When she's sniffly, show her how to use a tissue and blow gently; it's not an innate skill!
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