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Mealtimes with a 5yr old - how can I speed things up!?!

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
This is my very first post, and I am hoping someone out there can help me as I'm at the end of my tether!

My son is 5 and it really has been a bit of a hassle during mealtimes to get him to eat a little quicker. Average mealtimes take around 40mins. He often asks to sit on my knee, or if he eats with Nanna and Grandad they help him by loading up his fork etc (that's another story).

I don't look forward to mealtimes because he takes so long.

To me, half an hour should be sufficient.

I have had a reward chart ongoing for 14 weeks, and there has been SLIGHT improvement, but the chart is for overall behaviour and not just at mealtimes.

His behaviour at mealtimes just isn't acceptable.

I give him to the count of 5 and if he doesn't start eating, and stops messing about (leaving the table without asking, playing with toy cars - which we have banned all toys at the table yet he keeps trying!) then the food is taken away and he doesn't get desert.

He knows we mean business, and we are not lilly-livered parents, we feel that we are firm but fair.

I just want to know if anyone out there has had the same "issues" at mealtimes, and how they have managed to move on???

Thanks in advance,

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
Well I can't say that I experience this normally with my children, there may be a distraction or issue on occasions but not generally. I have to say that if my children weren't eating at mealtime I would simply take the food away, put it on the kitchen side and tell them they weren't having anything else. Then later on if they felt hungry and asked for something I would re-heat the food and they could have that. If they still wouldn't eat they'd have to go without. I have a rule that it's up to them if they eat dinner or not; but if they don't they don't get pudding or anything else as I can not stand waste. If they eat their dinner I praise them and let them have afters, but if they muck about and it's too close to bed time I wont let them have anything else then either.

Maybe you could try letting him just get on with it at meal times; and if he leaves the table or doesn't eat just ignore it, keep calm and enjoy your own food. Then later if he comes sniffing round for snacks tell him he's not having anything else, it's dinner or empty tummy. If he's being really awkward anyway I don't see it can hurt to try, but you'll have to stick to it ofcourse so he knows you're serious. Good luck

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
~thank you for the advice!

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
I pretty much do what Kel does. I find if we all sit together and eat at the same time they eat much better.

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
Unfortunately, eating together doesn't make a jot of difference!

I've just bought a couple of jars for him to put bright red pom poms in whenever he does something really well, so he's now got a more visual aid.

He did eat better tonight, because I told him if he didn't eat his meal he would have no pudding and it would be thrown away.

Thanks for the advice, I will just keep at it!

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
We eat together, if Mike's or Jamie don't want to sit at the table, no tea, if they don't eat all their tea, no pudding or snack, if they leave the table for anything other than the loo or to help get a drink, there is no coming back. Strict, but it works really well.

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
I think you have to be strict or not at all really - and because you have the four children I could really learn a thing or two!

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
My DD wasn't that slow but sometimes it gets on my nerves.. I don't know if to be strict is a good thing because doctors always say we should eat slowly and we do the opposite because we're always in a hurry or have something else to do. My question is, if you hurry him up isn't he getting anxious when eating? Nobody should help him just because he's slow and it's making him lazy.

posted 1 decade 5 years ago
I know it is not what you would want to hear but personality sometimes plays a big role in how long it takes for someone to have his or her meal. Keep trying but keep this in mind. We are all different. Best wishes.

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