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she takes TOO LONG to eat

my 3yo takes forever to finish a meal. what she could finish in 20 minutes to eat (which i thought was a generous amount of time) takes more than an hour. she'll get distracted and start talking, fiddling with things, etc. she'll put the food in her mouth but it takes her 5 minutes to chew and swallow. it's frustrating... and in the end, her meals dont end up finished because we have bigger things to do instead of wait for her to finish a small meal. what do you recommend i do? lots of things arent getting done because i'm waiting for her...


Asked by Anonymous at 2:19 PM on Jun. 21, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

This question is closed.
Answers (5)
  • Explain to her that she has X amount of time to finish her food. i recomend 30-40 minutes. (which is plenty of time). Set a timer. Remind her to eat her food as often as necessary. Then when the time is up take the food away. period. She doesnt get it back. she had her time. ...i had to do this with my son. Now he eats in a much more timely manner.

    Answer by outstandingLove at 2:24 PM on Jun. 21, 2009

  • make more time in your schedule for her to eat. Or as PP suggested, take the food away whether she is finished or not and make her go hungry.

    I would tend to make more time, but that is just me... I don't like to make my kids go without food.


    Answer by VeronicaLee at 2:26 PM on Jun. 21, 2009

  • I agree with outstanding Love. Set a time. Let her know that at X time you are leaving to go do whatever, whether she's done or not.

    Yes, she will be hungry a couple of times but that won't kill her. She will learn to work within time limits.

    But also talk with the pediatrician about this.

    Answer by gdiamante at 2:28 PM on Jun. 21, 2009

  • my ds is kinda the same.. he didnt want to eat his meals but wanted snacks.. we cut out snacks and if he dosent finish a meal in the time me and SO do, then he dosent eat again until the enxt meal< except bedtiem, i cant make him to to bed without some food>

    Answer by 2cuteboysrmine at 3:38 PM on Jun. 21, 2009

  • This is actually age appropriate. Young children take a long time to eat.
    You have two choices:
    Use a timer. Pick however long you think is enough time and take her food away when time is up. This may get her to eat quicker or it may leave her hungry after every meal. It may also teach her to bolt her food instead of taking her time and enjoying it - something that can easily make her overeat in the years to come. One of the biggest dieting tips for adults is to eat slowly.
    Start your meals earlier, giving enough time for her to finish a decent amount of food. Don't rush her but don't feel you have to stay at the table when she is done either. Just stay nearby, cleaning the kitchen for example, so she has some social interaction while she eats. This is frustrating for you and requires you to change your habits.

    You might try a combo of both.

    Answer by kaycee14 at 5:57 PM on Jun. 21, 2009