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7 yr old DD just took an hour to finish a plate of food

(38 Posts)
glammama Mon 17-Sep-07 20:44:46

This is food she likes,mind,and it happens every blimmimg mealtime. She is also incredibly fussy which I try not to pander to. But it's the slow eating which is really getting to me now. She had no time to read tonight (which she loves) as it was near 8pm when she finished. What on earth can I do to speed her up? She also doesn't normally have time to finish her meals at school and she is slender for her age and height. All suggestions gratefully received.

daisyandbabybootoo Mon 17-Sep-07 20:49:17

My DS (5.5) can be like this. We now set him a time limit. He gets another 10 minutes after DH and I have finished eating, and if it isn't finished it goes in the bin and there is no pudding.

Reading that written down it sounds a bit harsh, but it works. His food only went in the bin twice. When he realised that a) I meant it and b) he wasn't getting anything else, he soon kicked in and ate it.

And tbh, if he looks like he's getting there we give him a few minutes longer or if he gets to the alloted time and there are only a few mouthfuls left we let him off.

39andcounting Mon 17-Sep-07 20:51:28

I have friend who had exactly the same problems. Mind you would wlof down a pudding. She told herself that it was Ok and her daughter would not starve and she dropped a stone in no time. We had lost touch but I saw her last week at my daughters brownie pack.. This is o tues, so will enquire what she did or is doing about it for you.

Dont mean to panic you but think for the meantime just stick with it.. Is she not eating til late in the evening, could she eat earlier ? Is it the same regardless of what mealtime it is ?

glammama Mon 17-Sep-07 21:23:59

Funnily enough puddings get devoured extremely quickly! We try and eat earlier than 7 but sometimes we don't get home till 6.30 after I pick her up from after school club. But to be honest we could be eating her favourite meal at midday and she would still take forever to finish. I might try and put a limit on the time but perhaps drop it by 5 mins a day, using the hour she took today as a starting point. Thanks for your replies, I'm reaching my wit's end here.

jellybelly25 Tue 18-Sep-07 11:41:44

Same prob, among other general attitude issues w dd (also 7). Same thing re favourite food, same thing re pudding! We also eat late, it is often unavoidable. Recently it has improved but am not sure which tactic worked... I tried:
Getting her to shower/wash/read while I cook, so she eats in her pjs and doesnt have to fit in shower as well as reading time after food (i.e. it doesn't matter as much if she takes ages).
Giving her allotted time (usually 20 mins). She has absolutely no sense of how long anything takes so i remind her how long she has left or it has noeffect at all. Or put the clock next to her so she can see hpw long it takes her. Sounds a bit mental, eating to the clock! But hey ho! (This was only temporary) Give fabulous pudding if she eats within allotted time :-)
Not eating in front of TV unless something particularly special cos she just can't cope with the distraction.
And as a last resort, this sounds really cruel but my dd talks CONSTANTLY if at all possible so if she was obviously not coping with having people to talk to while eating we threatened to put her in the other room. We have only had to do this twice after a number of warnings, and she soon sorted it out cos she'd much rather be with us!

jellybelly25 Tue 18-Sep-07 11:43:51

Oh yeah and if she is having snacks at after school club she may not be v hungry so perhaps a lighter supper might be better and less pressure on you to make a big tea?

law3 Tue 18-Sep-07 12:16:05

good idea jelly, perhaps smaller portions.

Do you insist that she finishes or is she free to finish when she wants to?

jellybelly25 Tue 18-Sep-07 13:00:49

Ru asking me or glamma? I assess each meal as it comes. If there's quite a lot then I judge whether or not I think she's telling the truth that she's full.. If it's obvious she's piddling around with it for a laugh then I get her to finish it.

Oh and another thing that helps, now you mention smaller portions, is to only serve up less than what you want her to eat, then it looks a bit less daunting and she can have more if she wants it afterwards. My dd is much more truthful about being is full when I do this and it also gives me a better idea of how much she can eat. Eg mash, if I give her mash she will eat as much of it as she can shovel into her mouth, then gets belly ache and won't eat the rest. So she gets a little bet of mash and I save more for afterwards.

Sorry if all this is a bit granny-sucking-eggs (not that I understand that saying but I like to use it anyway grin)

law3 Tue 18-Sep-07 13:24:53

Sorry i have a habit of doing that. Your idea smaller portions was good.

Was asking Glamma about the 2nd bit.

NAB3 Tue 18-Sep-07 13:25:42

Maybe dinner was too late and she was past being hungry?

glammama Tue 18-Sep-07 15:05:11

Thanks for all your replies:

Re: dinner being too late and being past hungry/full from after school snack. This occurred to me too but last night after taking an hour to finish a plate of food, she had pudding and then complained was still hungry so had a crumpet! So, her appetite is there...

Re: do I make her finish everything? No I don't, not always. If she is genuinely full and usually the question "so you're too full for pudding?" sorts out the truth then I don't make her finish the whole plate. However, if I think she is just bored of eating her veg or whatever I'm a little more firm.

I try not to reward with pudding as I think the message that sweet things are yummier than mains doesn't need any more reinforcing from me. The first part of her pudding is mostly fruit though.

jellybelly I think you have my DD!!

Thanks all for your suggestions. DD, DP and I are going to sit down tonight and discuss it, I've asked her to come up with ideas on how she can speed up to a more appropriate pace.

law3 Tue 18-Sep-07 15:38:10

glamma - so could it be she is just trying to delay eating it, in the hope you will say leave it??

How about giving her a smaller portion and agreeing a time limit, us parents do tend to give too much, as oppose to too little.

As long as she is eating a balance, varied diet. Some days i might not fancy eating all of my veg, but could easily eat a desert or a crumpet!!!!!

glammama Tue 18-Sep-07 15:42:45

Given the choice law3 I would rather eat pudding and crumpet too! Maybe I should give her a smaller portion of main and if she is still hungry give her some more before her pudding, otherwise she'll just want extra stuff after desert as she's still hungry. I should set her a time limit as well. I know her teeth are fine as we went to the dentist on sat (she sounds like a dog!). And no telly!! grin

law3 Tue 18-Sep-07 16:20:50

Glamma - tbh my son doesnt eat at all (not even desert) i would be grateful for one mouthful, so im a little envy

Good luck with tonights chat.

glammama Tue 18-Sep-07 19:44:06

Dinner Update

Kitchen clock came off the wall and went on the table as DD would not have been able to see from her chair. She ate most of her dinner (chicken and veg stirfry with noodles, so quite challenging) in approx 20 mins with an extra 5 mins thrown in by soft Mum. But the time element did not stress her out and she made a concerted effort to eat more quickly. So, I reckon a couple of days/weeks of this and we may have started a trend. Thanks for all your suggestions. Sorry about your son law, hope he improves soon.

jellybelly25 Tue 18-Sep-07 21:47:07

Good job glamma! It's worth it!

3catstoo Wed 19-Sep-07 13:17:35

My 3 children take ages to eat their food, even when it's their fav food.

This is a problem at school because they never finish in time.

DS is having a party on Sat and they will have an hour for food. This will be great for my own children but I know most of the other boys will only take 10 mins.

Now I have to come up with ideas to fill the other 50 mins that will include my 3 slow eaters.

fortyplus Wed 19-Sep-07 20:58:52

ds2 is just the same. Aged 3 we went to McD with friends (shock, horror) and after an hour and 40 mins he was still on his 3rd chicken nugget.

He's 12 now and still a very slow eater, but we have a '10 minute rule' - if he hasn't finished his main course within 10 minutes of everyone else then he doesn't get any pudding.

glammama Wed 19-Sep-07 21:52:17

3cats how are you going to keep them all at the table for an hour shock Good luck!

We did the clock again tonight and it wasn't too bad, we'll keep persevering. Good luck to every one else here.

PeterDuck Wed 19-Sep-07 21:58:17

Message withdrawn

3catstoo Wed 19-Sep-07 22:08:22

glamama, not really sure !

glammama Thu 20-Sep-07 07:28:26

Peter- yes she went to the dentist for a regular check up last saturday and everything is fine there. We do mostly eat as a family but there are nights when DD is very hungry and dinner is going to be some time and she eats first. But I'm at the table with her anyway. The clock thing seems to be working as does the idea that she has more time to do other stuff if she's doesn't take all night at the table.

ITmum Thu 20-Sep-07 14:08:13

Just my little contribution.
I used to be like that when I was little. I can still remember my father sitting with me to eat my dinner for hours! They tried different things, but I didn't seem to be bothered with things like eating on my own in another room.
Then they must have got some tip from someone because one day, after having my plate of fish in front of me for one hour, they took it away and put it in the fridge and they said I would have that for dinner. I didn't believe them but they were true to their word. Obviously I wasn't going to eat cold fish for dinner, so I didn't have anything then either. So they put it away in the fridge for breakfast next day. I had that cold plate of fish in front of me for 3 days and I didn't eat it, but then my legs started to shake and after 3 days, I gave up. Since that day, I never made a fush with my dinner and nowadays I like absolutely everything. But... I am now an obese woman with 4 stones to loose!
Conclusion: - if you are obsesive with food with your children, they will quite likely be obsesive themselves when they are adults. - children can stay without food for a very long time without it affecting their health (my father is a doctor and he would have never done something like that if there was any risk).
Personally I think that was too much and that there is no need to get to that point (nowadays you would be put in jail for something like that). But I do think that parents have to set their limits, and stick to them, without making a big deal out of it. The more you get upset, the more you get angry with them, the more likely they are to try your patience again next time.

DeedeePickles Thu 20-Sep-07 14:35:42

Very interesting post, ITmum.

Have had similar problems with DD, but at 5.5 she is growing out of it. Have never made a fuss about mealtimes, but it used to drive me nuts , especially at breakfast when she used to take 40mins to eat half a Weetabix. She has a slight build with a very small appetite and is very active. My guess is her body is designed to consume little and often, which I try to cater to but obviously at school she can't do this.

Incidentally, when her blood sugar drops she is monumentally grumpy which continues until about 5 mins after she has eaten something when she returns to her normal self.

DeedeePickles Thu 20-Sep-07 14:37:01

BTW I quite like kedgeree for breakfast, but draw the line at 3 day old chilled fish!!!

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