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Slow eating

(5 Posts)
lenak Tue 25-Oct-11 13:23:29

DD is 4.1 and is the slowest eater in the world. Whether at home or out it will take her ages to eat anything for example:

30 minutes to eat a banana this morning.
30 minutes to eat 2 petit filous yoghurts.
45 minutes to eat a sandwhich
An hour to eat a bowl of soup and one slice of bread and butter
An hour and a half to eat a burger (well half a burger), carrot sticks and an ice cream at McDonalds

And those times are only achieved with constant coaxing.

Its not just with us, nursery tell us she is often still eating her mains when the other kids have finished their puddings and gone to play.

Unfortunately we rarely sit down to eat as a family (which we are trying to make more effort with) but she does get a lot of experience of social eating at nursery.

Also, admittedly with have been quite lax in terms of letting her eat in front of the TV in the past, but we have stopped this now apart from snacks and make her sit at the breakfast bar to eat, but it's not speeding her up.

She can get distracted by anything and talks a lot - it's frustrating because if we are eating together the entire meal is spent saying "DD, eat your dinner", "DD, hurry up and eat", "Never mind that now, just eat your dinner" etc ad infinitum. It doesn't make for a very pleasant dining experience for anyone except DD who is completely oblivious to the stress. Nursery also confirm that she talks a lot there as well.

We don't have any other behaviour issues with her apart from normal four year old cloth ears and selective deafness. In fact I would go as far as to say she is exceptionally well behaved for her age (based on other 4 year olds I know) but DH and I are really getting to the end of our rope with the speed of eating thing

Does anyone have any ideas on how to speed her up a bit?

StaceymAloneForver Tue 25-Oct-11 13:39:27

my ds is nearly 5 and he is a slow eater, although only on meals, he chews stuff for AGES and it's annoying but we just all finish round him and leave him at the table alone if he's being really slow, or bring pudding for everyone else to eat in front of him and tell him he can't have pudding until he finishes his food.

Some kids just eat slowly I think!

Joyn Tue 25-Oct-11 14:03:21

Try not to worry about it. My dd (now 6,) was spending the whole of lunch time eating & not getting out to play when she first went to school (and she only had a round of sandwich). But now she's fine. The more they get hung up about it the worse it seems to get. Make sure she's not getting snacks as it might just be she's not that hungry. Also is she always slow or does it vary, on the food/situation? Try & look out for any 'triggers' & see if you can help her feel more relaxed.

btw (with my psychology graduate hat on,) I think you are doing the right thing trying to eat more with her, just try not to mention her speed, talk about other things & just give her a reasonable time to eat, (say 10mins after youve finished,) start clearing the table & ask her if shes finished, if she says she hasn't say something like 'ok, you can have another 5 minutes, while I clear the rest away, but then I really must get the dishwasher on' (or whatever,) and if she says she has, just clear away, (they will eat when they are hungry). As strange as it may seem they can sometimes 'crave' the negative attention they get from the nagging to eat up, so if she's no longer getting that, but more positive attention, in the form of a nice chat with you, it might just start to improve. Give it a week & see if it works for you.

With my own dd, I learnt to accept she wasn't a bit eater, (big contrast to her older ds,) & basically she eats well only at alternate meals, if she's had a big breakfast she'll probably only eat half her lunch, (even if it's her favourite food). At least I know she's not very likely to have weight issues when she's older.

mrsbaffled Tue 25-Oct-11 14:35:46

DS (now 7) was like this too. I was really concerned about it as at scholl they only get 20 minutes to eat lunch. the HV gave us some really good advice, that has worked a treat:
She advised us to get a kitchen timer and set it for a reasonable time (maybe start with 20-30 minutes for a main course) and let DS see it counting down. When it pings take the food away, and don't offer any more food until the next meal occasion. BE FIRM and DON'T GIVE IN! DS soon got the message and in a week was eating in less than half the time he used to.

Good luck!

lenak Wed 26-Oct-11 09:37:30

Thanks for the advice - we're not worried about it - more frustrated really.

Joyn - I think you are probably right about the negative attention. Because she takes so long to eat she eventually gets bored (as opposed to full) and we inevitably end up in the "eat three more bites then you can go" territory, which she revels in, counting down the bites on her fingers.

mrsbaffled I like the timer idea - might try that one.

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