Parents often worry about their child’s diet. Most parents rarely think about how long mealtime is until they realize their child is an extremely slow eater.
While toddlers are just learning to navigate through their world, eating is something most master early on. If your child is a slow eater, it’s time to pick up the pace.
Why Does My Kid Take Forever to Eat?
Every parent understands the struggle of trying to get their child to finish their food. What should be a simple meal can easily stretch into an hour-long period of bargaining.
Frustrating though it may be, your kid needs to eat!
The first step in dealing with a slow eater is to figure out the reason behind their eating habits. Watch your child eat to figure out what exactly they’re spending their time doing. Oftentimes kids will play with their food, distract themselves, or simply pick at the food they don’t like.
Kids often eat slowly if they lose interest in the food or they’re already full. Study your child’s habits during the day. Are they snacking on anything? Likewise, is your child turn their nose up at everything you serve?
Getting to the bottom of their slow eating will help you put together a plan of action.
Dealing With Slow Eaters
Handling slow eating is challenging. While you can simply keep pushing your child to eat faster, this isn’t always an effective solution. Experts recommend that parents create rules for eating.
Children should understand that there are three meals throughout the day. Sometimes there are snacks, but your child shouldn’t fill up with them.
In addition to knowing your child’s snack intake, make sure your child feels comfortable eating. If they feel as though they’re in a stressful environment, they may not eat properly.
Create a relaxing atmosphere for mealtime. Turn off all entertainment and make sure your child puts all of their focus on eating.
Techniques to Help Your Kid Eat Faster
When dealing with a slow eater, parents should be careful not to overwhelm their children. Start meal times off without overloading the plate. Having too much food can cause your child to be anxious. With less on their plate, they’ll be able to eat calmly.
Giving your child the chance to eat more independently is also a good idea. Encourage your child to feed themselves and ask them their opinion on meals. As you include your child more in this process, they’ll feel as though they should participate more when eating.
Create Limits for Mealtime
Tough love is another option when dealing with a slow eater. Typically, children finish eating in 20 minutes. Try encouraging your child to eat faster by not forcing them to eat more. After 30 minutes if your child isn’t done eating, consider mealtime over.
This will encourage them to focus on eating during the given time frame. Eventually, they will eat faster.
Is My Child Healthy?
Parents of children that eat slowly often wonder if their child is healthy. While you want your kid to eat faster, you may be afraid they’re not eating enough.
Consider your child’s diet. If they’re eating slowly during meals, they’re still getting sustenance from what they’re eating. Likewise, if they eat healthy snacks throughout the day as well as three meals, they’re fine. As long as your child is full and eating healthy foods, you needn’t worry.
Alternatively, if your child constantly complains about being hungry after eating slowly, they need more food. If your child is hungry, work with their doctor to come up with creative ways to help them eat more.
Your child will eventually start to eat more quickly over time. While it can be frustrating to work through his behavior, don’t lose hope.