How do we Help our Slow Eaters - With Judith Yeabsley

Updated: Mar 30

"Children eating very slowly is very, very frustrating. Especially when we are tired, we are busy and often because we have other places to be or other things to do" Judith Yeabsley


One common complaint about picky eaters is that they eat too slowly. Often mind-numbingly, the food could evaporate more quickly, slowly.

Children eating very slowly is very, very frustrating. Especially when we are tired, we are busy and often because we have other places to be or other things to do. This pressure keg can inadvertently create a control issue too.



Is this your child?

  • They chat about anything and everything and there is zero focus on the food

  • The food gets pushed around the plate or forms fantastical patterns, but little actually gets into the mouth

  • They are up and down at the table and EVERYTHING is more important than the eating

  • Food gets held in the mouth for an age

  • You are looking at 30 minutes minimum for them to eat and generally it is double or triple that


What is ideal?

This all depends on the age of your child and what your family norms are. I do know that, in general, the majority of the food gets eaten in the first 20 minutes and very little after that. 30 minutes, for me, is a good benchmark for finishing a meal.

One study found that if a toddler stays at the table for more than 30 minutes, they burn more calories than the extra they ingest. Wow!


I know that when you have a very picky eater, or a little one, or a child that seems very light for their age, it is so tempting to see every mouthful eaten as critical. Unfortunately, if this spills over into unhelpful practices it does work against us long-term.



What is happening?

The first step to resolving most things is to identify the issue. Why is your child eating so slowly? I know it is very tempting to say things like “they have always done this” or “I am a slow eater” and use that to explain it away.