doddl Family Mealtime Research

Here at doddl we embarked on research around family mealtime. Some of the results made for interesting and surprising reading. Here are the results.

doddl Family Mealtime Research - little girl, happy smile

We researched the family mealtime. Here’s what we found...


Here at doddl, helping kids to develop their mealtime skills is what we do.

From our experience of working with parents up and down the UK - not to mention our own personal experiences of mealtimes with young children - we know that helping kids learn to use utensils is not only a challenge, but also a real source of worry and anxiety for some parents. But we wanted to find out the extent of the issue, and survey attitudes towards family mealtimes in more detail. So we did some doddl Family Mealtime research. We polled 1500 parents of children aged 4-10, across the UK, in all different age-groups and demographics.

Here’s a sample of what we found:

54% of British parents said their kids can’t use a knife and fork properly at meal times.

60% of British kids eat with their hands.

69% of British parents find either all or most mealtimes a challenge.

46% of British parents admit that they let their kids watch TV at the table.

35% of British parents allow their children to play with a tablet or phone during mealtimes.

28% of British parents say their kid’s table manners are either ‘not great’ or ‘terrible’.

23% of British parents feel humiliated when they eat out at a restaurant with their children.

20% of British parents will skip a meal at a restaurant or friend’s house to avoid embarrassment.

41% of British parents let their kids do whatever they want at dinnertime, because it’s not worth the battle.

So, what does this all mean?


Well, to us it suggests that many parents and kids could both do with some help to make family mealtimes less about stress and mess, and more about good nutritious eating and quality time. In fact, the cumulative impact of these research results takes us right back to why we founded doddl in the first place. The data underlines both our own experiences as parents, and indeed the anecdotal reports from the parents we chat to. In short, mealtimes were often difficult, and because of increasing pressures on the family unit in general, finding the time, space, energy and perseverance to help your little ones develop those all-important skills can be very tough indeed.

Over to our expert partner: Pediatric Feeding Specialist, Speech Therapist, Stacey Zimmels:

“This research highlights how challenging mealtimes can be for many parents - and with good reason as the onset of portable screens has replaced the family mealtime in many households. The result is very little role modelling, and because children are not eating with their families, they can be less exposed to a varied diet and have no demonstration of how to use utensils." “The good news is, making a few simple changes can make all the difference. Eating as much as possible as a family and showing little ones how to eat with age-appropriate utensils designed for small hands will lead to positive experiences around the dinner table and much less mess!”

And this is where our products come in.

Because our ergonomically designed, short handles are perfect for little hands, they make it easier for kids to control, which in turn aids the development of dexterity and hand-eye coordination (and thus greatly reduces the level of mess generated!!). The upshot is a more positive dinnertime experience… for parents as well as for kids. Ultimately, the results show that parents are looking for support, reassurance and expertise in order to get the most from mealtimes.

At doddl, we’re dedicated to providing it.

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