How long should you give your child to finish their dinner? Many parents say their child takes a long time to eat – over an hour in some cases.
Feeding expert Ellyn Satter has the following tactics parents can try:
- Consider if you have an agenda for your child’s eating. Do you keep him at meals until he’s finished a certain amount? Slow eating can be a way for children to put off eating food they don’t want to eat.
- Avoid saying ‘hurry up’, ‘stop talking’ or ‘finish your meal’ – any form of pressure can worsen eating.
- Provide a bedtime snack, even if it’s just an hour after dinner. If the slow eating changes, your child was concerned about having to go hungry through the night.
- Build in some one on one time for a couple of weeks. Your child may have been using eating to get some attention.
- Avoid distractions at mealtimes – toys, TV, electronic devices.
- Verbally set a time limit “We have 30/45/60 minutes for dinner” and give everyone a five-minute reminder before the end of the meal. Then as a family put food away and tidy up.
Do you need more help?
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Jenny Boss, Nutritionist