Making foods easy to eat can speed up the process.
Sometimes it seems like your toddler has an internal timer perpetually set on "make Mommy late" time. This is especially true when it comes to mealtimes. Sometimes, no matter what you serve, your toddler picks, sighs and takes her sweet time while noshing, slowly driving you insane. While you don't want your little one to eat so fast that she chokes on her food, a little more focus can go a long way in getting mealtime over and done with -- at least, until the next meal.
1Chop foods into smaller, easier-to-grab pieces for little fingers. When pieces are larger, not only are they a choking hazard, but they also take longer to chew, especially for your foot-dragging tot. Small pieces and softer foods can help your little one self-feed and eat a little bit faster than a snail's pace. You can also try offering utensils meant for toddlers so they're easier to handle -- an adult-sized fork might be slowing your tot down.
2Set a timer and make eating into a game. While you don't want to encourage eating too quickly, setting a timer for 15 to 30 minutes and then asking your toddler to mimic your silly faces while you eat might entice her to start eating as well. Or, offer rewards for finishing before the timer sounds so your child has a goal to work toward.
3Serve up some of your child's faves whenever introducing a new food. She might be eating slowly because she doesn't like whatever she's eating. Instead, serve some of her favorite cooked carrots along with the new food to give her something to focus on and yourself a little bargaining power. When she asks for more of her favorite, you can entice her to take a few bites of the new food before dishing up more.
4Sit at the table and avoid distractions while eating. Having your little one nosh in front of the TV might give you a few precious moments of quiet time, but she's likely to get distracted and take her time eating. Instead, make mealtime a ritual where you turn off the TV, ditch your smartphone and focus on eating together.
5Evaluate your child's schedule. What may seem like annoyingly slow eating habits might actually be a toddler who isn't hungry. Perhaps your mealtime is too close to snack time or your little one has been noshing between meals. If that's the case, retool your schedule so when mealtimes hit, your tot is actually hungry and interested in the foods put in front of her.
- Avoid trying to speed up the process by encouraging your child to chew and eat faster, which could be a choking hazard.