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Thread: When do you think they are ready?

  1. #1

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    Question When do you think they are ready?

    When do you think that a child is old enough to learn to eat a reasonable full meal, and then wait for food again until snack time?
    This is my frustration: my daughter takes an hour or more to finish her breakfast. (A bowl of cereal or a slice of bread and milk, or something else reasonable that she may choose. She is allowed to pick what she would like to eat every morning, within reason.) I am sick of sitting with her for that long every morning saying , Ok take another bite honey.... but otherwise, she is hungry again in no time. She is not old enough to understand a time limit (say half an hour, or something like that.) and I don't want to make her stressed about eating, or make her wolf down her meal. I could just give her a certain amount of time, and then clear the table, and say we'll eat again at snack time, in a couple of hours, But I'm not sure if that is a reasonable expectation. I don't want her to get in the habit of snacking all day and only nibbling her meals, and I don't want her to go hungry. She often asks for food between meals, and seems hungry. (We do eat healthy snacks, generally, - yogurt, applesauce, apples, grapes, raisins, crackers, cheese, etc.) She is a big (45lb, 42 inch) girl, who just turned 3, so do you think she is old enough to learn that meal time is the time to fill up, and snack time is just for little snacks, or should I continue the "demand feeding"?


  2. #2

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    It really depends on what type of eater your daughter is. I have a 5.5 y.o boy who eats quickly, but my nearly 4 y.o daughter is a real dawdler when it comes to eating and will take forever to eat a whole meal. She is also happy to graze through the day and is happier having small meals spaced over the day than a regimental set eating pattern.

    She will eat all her breakfast in a reasonable timeframe and she too will want something else to eat soon after, so I try to distract her until more time has passed and it is closer to morning tea time for her next meal.

    We did try to get her to eat quicker by having a reward at the end. Like if she ate her meal by x time, she would be able to do x (like a TV show or other activity). It has helped a bit, because she started to understand a bit about eating to a time frame. I don't think it is unreasonable to try to get her to understand, because I have BTDT with sitting until they finished their meal.

    Try using rewards with her and see how that goes. If you are happy to let her eat at her pace, then by all means keep doing that, because you know that she is eating IYKWIM?

  3. #3

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    I tend to just serve up my kids food and then leave them to it - they will eat and then when they are finished I take away their plates and that's it. They rarely clear their plates but that is ok as long as I feel they have had enough. If I think that Harry has not eaten enough I will ask him to have a few more bites, and if he is refusing to eat anything at all then I tell him, fine I will put it in the fridge for later. So when he comes back saying he is hungry I just get out the lunch/dinner that he refused to eat. I definitely don't sit there the whole time while they are eating though.

    Is it possible that your DD is taking so long to eat because you are sitting with her the whole time - so it's like an attention thing? Ie. you are 'rewarding' her for eating slowly by giving her your attention. I would try not sitting with her for one meal and just see what she does - she may still take an hour to eat, she may not. If she says she is finished and you feel she hasn't eaten enough then just take away her plate and tell her she can have the rest later when she is hungry again. Or just give her smaller portions and if she eats it all and wants more then let her have it. For me, if my kids have eaten at least 1/2 - 3/4 of their meal then I am happy. If they eat it all, then great.

  4. #4

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    Thanks for the replies ladies. I'll have to give some of those suggestions a shot. For the most part, it isn't too much of a problem if she takes forever to eat, only if we are trying to get out the door in a hurry. (ha ha ha. as if we can go anywhere in a hurry these days. ) I guess it's one of those phases that they go through, and hopefully won't last too long.

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