Slow eater problems

By | July 26, 2022

I have a 6 year old that takes foooooorrrrever to eat a meal. At home we generally let him take as long as he needs, but at school last year he was definitely not getting enough food at lunch. I tried packing things that don’t take as long to eat but have high nutritional pay off (like yogurt and little smoothies with lots of hidden veggies mixed in) but he still wasn’t finishing those. We’ve talked about how to decide the main part of a meal and, if he has limited time, to eat that first so he feels full and take the rest for home or snack. I know we have the dreaded 20 minute school lunch soon approaching and was wondering if anyone had tips to help him focus on eating more quickly. I don’t want to put pressure on him, but I don’t want him to be hungry all day again at school.

6 thoughts on “Slow eater problems

  1. Mehue

    Why is he eating slowly? Does he get distracted? Does he chew a thousand times? Does he feel like he’s going to choke otherwise? I do think we rush kids through lunch at school. It took me a lot of time not to gobble down my food.

  2. DonUboaty

    Agree w these questions. Why is he eating slowly?

    I would consider an occupational evaluation since it’s impacting in both school and home. Might be a physiciologicsl chewing issue at play

  3. Peloquin Post author

    My middle child is a slow eater. I worried about how she’d do at school and we discussed it beforehand. It’s really on her to eat faster or risk being hungry. She’s going into 4th grade now and sometimes she eats enough lunch, sometimes she’ll eat a bigger breakfast and not be too hungry for lunch, and sometimes she’ll just ask for a snack when she gets home.

  4. RefrainsFromPartakin

    I’ve always been a slow eater, and I was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult. There’s not much you can do. Try not to bring too much attention to it. My family always has, they still do, and it’s made me self conscious to this day, at 31.

  5. mom

    I was 100% prepared for a picky eater. But that’s not the problem here. My LO (4yo girl) eats nearly everything we put in front of her. She’s got things she doesn’t like, but she’ll try almost everything we ask her to, and will eat most of it. The problem is that she is the SLOWEST eater in the world. Like seriously, no one could eat slower than this kid. We are CONSTANTLY prompting her to take another bite, to chew, to sit down and focus. She’s distracted by EVERYTHING, but even when we do get her to sit and eat she’s still slower than a sloth.

    If we try to cajole her into picking up speed, she will cry and tantrum. Attempt to set a timer, and she just sits there and freaks out at us for the entire time the timer is set. The rest of the family gets up and leaves her at the table? We look over and she’s UNDER the table… crying. If we show her what she needs to eat to be “done” she’ll eat it, but only that, and then ask for dessert, which she will also take FOREVER to eat. I sometimes resort to just taking away her plate, which results in a meltdown and then I feel bad.

    I’m terrified of creating a negative relationship with food. I want her to eat till she’s full and then stop, but I can’t sit at the dinner table for 2 hours every meal begging and pleading for her to hurry up and eat.

    Anyone have any working strategies for this kind of issue?

    1. olga

      My step daughter was the slowest eater her whole childhood. She was also very picky. But that’s beside the point. It got to where once the rest of us were done we would all be excused from the table. Then I would clean the kitchen while SD ate and the boys took their showers. Then, most nights I would sit at the table long after I finished cleaning and just play solitaire and chat with her.

      Usually she would finish about 1.5 hours after she started. And I always just let her take her time.

      I did worry about her at school though. I don’t see how she possibly had time to get through the line and eat a proper meal in 30min so I always brought her a sandwich or fruit or something when I picked her up so she could eat it in the car.


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