Another Eating Question!

Not only is my child a picky eater, he is a slow eater. Sometimes he can eat up to 45 minutes to an hour. It doesn't bother me a lot when we have no where to go but when we have to be somewhere I continually have to prompt him to eat. Any tips out there on how to get him to eat quicker?

asked 01 Oct '09, 01:08

Melissa%201's gravatar image

Melissa 1
accept rate: 15%

edited 01 Oct '09, 01:10

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Scott ♦♦

When my daughter is eating slow it is usually because she's distracted. We've moved her high chair to different places around the table to see if that cut down on distractions, turned off the t.v., etc. She usually does a great job eating in a timely manner, but when she doesn't we do prompt her to continue eating. If she indicates that she is "all done" and there is still food on her plate we do let her down from the table. I've found that her appetite is variable. And it could depend on a variety of things, growth spurts, snacks/drinks before meals, distractions, etc. I agree on days that you are in a hurry to just focus on him and then when time runs out take the food to go.


answered 01 Oct '09, 20:59

Sabrina's gravatar image

accept rate: 21%

When my daughter starts to dawdle at mealtimes we play the "subtraction game". We count the total number of bites on the plate and then I'll ask her simple subtraction questions that she needs to "solve". So if we start with 10 bites, I'll say "OK, what's 10 take away 2?" To find the answer she needs to eat the 2 bites and count what's left over. Now when she knows she has to finish her dinner but doesn't want to, she asks if we can play the game. So I guess it works, for us anyway!


answered 01 Oct '09, 01:46

erin's gravatar image

accept rate: 31%

This really depends on how old your child is - if we are talking about a young infant this is not a good situation and you could have a medical issue that needs addressing (GERD, heart or lung issues). If we are talking about an older infant, this could be due to over stimulation in which case it is best to try feeding in a calm, quiet, relaxed environment so the child can focus on the task at hand. If we are talking about an toddler, there could be several reasons (getting to know finger foods with a lack of teeth, learning new skills/object permanence/gravitational forces, over stimulation, distraction, etc). I would try and limit the stimulation in the environment around them and therefor any distractions for a start. You cannot really rush them to eat but you can get them to focus on eating by focusing on them, as someone else mentioned, counting the remaining bites or pretending to eat their food yourself. If you have places to go they have great snack containers out there that you can place bite sized pieces in with soft petal style lids that they can get their hands into but if they tip the container upside down , the food will not fall out. As long as your child is not a choker, these are great for car rides and stroller adventures when you have to get to where you are going.

My child is a snacker and frankly I am thrilled with that. They say as adults we should eat 5-6 smaller meals in a day and I cannot think of a better way to give my toddler a great start toward a healthy relationship with food for life. I dont feed her breakfast lunch and dinner, I go with smaller snacks/meals throghout the day and it works well for us. I hope she continues to eat like this for the rest of her life.


answered 01 Oct '09, 02:44

dreamerisme's gravatar image

accept rate: 8%

I think if you go with smaller meals it's important to pay attention to the types of food you are providing. For me it's harder to provide many smaller healthful meals than it is 3 healful meals with 2-3 snacks in between.

(01 Oct '09, 21:06) Sabrina

Although I do not know the age of your child here is what I would try;

Prior to starting the meal, I would speak about what we could do as soon as dinner is over, this could have a great effect. So depending on what your little one likes doing, you could instill in to his or her mind the promise of an activity as soon as dinner is finished.

Also I liked Erins answer and realised that I also did something similar with mine when she was younger. Depending on the meal and the quantity on the plate, I would empathise and divide the food in such a way so she thought she would be eating less.

You could try reducing the portions.

I certainly agree with Luke's comment about bribing and have no hesitataion in saying that I believe a hungry child is probably easier to deal with than a child who has trained his parents to support his / her irregular eating habits.

(We just learned yesterday that in my daughters class at pre-school, they have garden time directly after lunch, so all the kids finish lunch before the teacher has finished her soup, in order to maximise their time outdoors)


answered 02 Oct '09, 05:58

Emi's gravatar image

accept rate: 19%


I sometimes bribe my kids with different things...

  • candy
  • ice cream
  • cookies
  • outside time
  • movie

and sometimes I make them go to bed until they are ready to eat their food. Within 2 minutes they come back and finish eating!

Other times it doesn't work so I just make them stop eating and give them a snack later... I know... bad idea... The bribing usually works!


answered 01 Oct '09, 01:31

Mommy%20trial%20and%20error's gravatar image

Mommy trial and error
accept rate: 4%


Bribing may work for now, but what will you bribe them with when they're older?

(01 Oct '09, 02:29) Mark

Bribing and letting the kids go back and forth between eating and other activities/punishments seems like it is really encouraging bad behavior.

(01 Oct '09, 03:17) Luke Foust

I think that when they are 2 & 3 bribing works great! They try new foods/activities just so they can get those 3 m&ms. When they are older they will understand more and not need to be bribed. My husband is 24 and I still bribe him with some things. example - If you put the laundry away I won't ask you change any diapers for the rest of the night. I am a fan of bribing...

(04 Oct '09, 10:25) Mommy trial and error
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Asked: 01 Oct '09, 01:08

Seen: 19,392 times

Last updated: 02 Oct '09, 05:58