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Painfully slow eater

(10 Posts)
WynkenBlynken Mon 29-Aug-11 19:21:01

Hi, I was wondering whether anyone else has experienced this and how they deal with it?

I'm at my wits end, DD is nearly 7 and for as long as I can remember she has been slow at eating. It was never really a huge issue but in the last 6 or so months it has become ridiculous! I'm talking 50 minutes to eat a bowl of readybrek, 40 minutes to eat half a sandwich etc.

I've tried ignoring it and letting her eat at her own pace, I've tried hurrying her, I've tried feeding her myself (she was heaving after two mouthfuls so I stopped!), I've sat with her until the bitter end, I've left her at the table and had extra loud fun with DD2 to thinking she would hurry up and see what she was missing out on! Nothing works, and I have to admit every meal recently has ended with me shouting.

At school she never finishes her lunch because the dinner ladies close her lunch box after a certain time so she can go out to play.

My last resort at the moment is a timer, we went and chose one together, got OTT excited about it and laid out the law - 20 mins for each meal, when the buzzer goes off plate goes away and nothing else until next meal. If she finishes she gets lots of praise and a pudding. We're on day 2 and it's been 50/50 so far.

I must add though, she is not a fussy eater, never has been. She likes everything I cook and all her snacks (if any) are fruit. We don't have biscuits, crisps or chocolate in the house!

Can someone please give me some advice on how to deal with it please? I know I shouldn't shout but it really is getting a problem now.


candr Mon 29-Aug-11 19:27:53

You need to identify what is making her slow. Is it talking, thinking, playing, being distracted,day dreaming.... You can try counting how many chews she does per mouthful and try to us that in a competative way. What does she say when you ask her why she is so slow? Your idea of a timer is good so keep up with that. How slow is she if you eat out or if she is at a friends house?

mrsravelstein Mon 29-Aug-11 19:30:06

watching with interest as i have a 3.5 year old with the same issue - there isn't any problem with eating, he is hungry, and is happily enjoying his food, but it routinely takes over an hour to eat his supper - drives me nuts though watching him painstakingly chewing every mouthful 100 times...

naturalbaby Mon 29-Aug-11 19:36:26

my 2yr old is bad - 1/2hr to eat 2 biscuits today! he gets distracted just sitting on his own and can't sit still. he's always been able to feed himself and sit for ages 'playing' with food while i do other stuff so it's what he's used to now. i know he can physically eat quick enough - he can demolish a piece of cake in seconds!

does she seem bothered about missing part of her lunch at school? is there anything that she reliably eats quickly? the timer sounds like a good plan, i'm sure it'll work out but if eating slow is the way she's got used to eating for years and years it will take a while for her to get used to eating quicker or finishing/stopping after 20mins rather than 50mins.

WynkenBlynken Mon 29-Aug-11 19:40:05

She takes extremely small bites and chews and chews until she can swallow it. If she has too much in her mouth she can sometimes heave.

Our table is in a separate room so no tv or anything like that to distract her. She talks a lot and I now make her eat in silence or with minimal talking, which she also finds hard!

If I ask her she says she doesn't know why and she can't help it, and then normally cries (possibly she cries because I am shouting at her).

At a friends house or out at a restaurant she still eats slow, but not as slow as at home.

I feel so bad every day because of the tension it causes and I worry about the effect it is having on my younger DD, who happens to eat everything at a normal pace!

I'm starting to dread meal times now which is a shame. I think I do make it worse though as perhaps I put too much emphasis on it.

Thanks for your reply, I'll keep up with the timer and maybe just give her a 5 minute reminder at the end, but not say anything else about it.

WynkenBlynken Mon 29-Aug-11 19:45:37

She's not too bothered about her lunch at school, I make her eat it when she gets home though (don't stone me!!).

She recently demolished a roast dinner at my sisters in under 10 minutes, we were all so shocked!

She eats fruit and snacks normally, it just tends to be sit down meals.

That's a good point about her taking time to get used to eating quickly, I didn't think of it like that, thanks.

UniS Mon 29-Aug-11 22:16:36

DS does this with cooked food. He just messes about with his food, talks, is charming and doesn't EAT. During scool term we set a time limit. Finish a "reasonable fraction ( say 3/4) of his portion" in the time limit and he can have pudding.

PositiveAttitude Mon 29-Aug-11 22:31:55

Here DD4 was the very same!! It is sooooooo frustrating!! She once took an hour to eat a mini bread roll which was less than 5cm diameter.

We had some success with the 20 minutes per meal, as you are doing. Also did the timer thing, too.

I have to say that it is only over the past 6 months that she has improved and now I feel as if we can have a normal family mealtime for the first time!!

I know it is really hard, but please try to relax about it. I have done the shouting/feeding/coaxing/bribing/more screaming blush /crying/pleading/ignoring ad infinitum..........

mumeeee Mon 29-Aug-11 23:18:16

The timer is good. But I'd say 20 minute is a bit quick. I would set it for 30 minutes. I'm a slow eater and I just can't or rarely can finish a cooked dinner in under 30'minutes

WynkenBlynken Wed 31-Aug-11 08:29:50

Thanks for all the advice.

I relaxed yesterday, put the timer on and left her to it. All three meals were eaten in under 20 minutes and there were smiles all around! Let's just hope it continues.

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