My child eats very slowly during mealtimes, what can I do?

(Video uploaded 04/2013)


My child is a slow eater. He holds food in his mouth and often takes over one hour for a meal. What can I do?

First of all, you need to determine the reason behind your child's slow eating. Is the food inappropriate for your child? Has he lost interest? Or, is he already full?

If the food is too hard or too big, your child will be unable to chew or swallow it, so he will not want to eat it. You can try cutting the food up into smaller pieces or cooking it till the texture turns softer.

In addition, if your child's menu is monotonous, he might not have the desire to eat. You can give him a few choices and try combining different healthy foods to create delicious and visually appealing dishes. Let him find more enjoyment in mealtimes.

If the food is child-friendly, how can I handle slow eating?

To tackle the problem of slow eating, it is best to start with establishing basic rules for meals: provide three meals and some snacks in between mealtimes at regular time every day, and allow two to three hours between meals and snack times.

Children eat better under a relaxed and pleasant atmosphere, and joining their family members at the dining table. Remember to turn off the television and put away toys during mealtimes, so that your child can focus on eating.

Do not give your child too much food in the beginning. Give him more food when he expresses such a desire. In this way, he can eat in a more relaxed way. It is also helpful for your child to eat better if you let him try eating himself.

Children typically can finish their meals within twenty minutes. If they are not willing to eat more or show disinterest in the food, it means that they are full. Avoid asking children to eat faster or to eat more by bribery. It can cause them to feel stressful and not willing to eat.

Therefore, if your child has not finished eating after more than thirty minutes, take away all feeding tools. Do not get into a battle with your child over the amount of food he eats. Express your request directly though action.

Parents do not need to worry about starving their children! This is because according to the method, two to three hours later will be snack time. As long as you provide healthy snacks, your child will not only be full, but also develop a good eating habit.