View Full Version : Time limit???

03-07-2012, 11:51 AM
Hi everyone! I thought I saw a post similar to this but can't find it! How do you handle super slow eaters? Do you have a set time for lunch and when it's over...it's over? I have an almost 2 year old here who stands and pouts when it is tidy up time and then stubbornly refuses to eat his lunch after everyone else has done all the clean up. This is really starting to annoy me, although I'm 8 months preggo so lots of things annoy me now haha!! Today, after all the other kids were finished I just called an end to lunch and this little guy went to bed without a thing to eat! Obviously I don't want to withhold food but I can't force him to eat either. Any advice??

03-07-2012, 12:04 PM
Re: Clean up
For the first few weeks with everyone I would use gummy bears as a reward for my 'cleanup crew'...even my 1 year-olds get in on the action. I usually start really young ones (or resisters) with placing a toy in their hand, taking them to the bin and once they throw the toy in I have a piece of Gummy Bear ready. It doesn't take long for everyone to get in on the action.
Re: Time limit to finish food
If they are still actually eating I give them as much time as they need. But, if they are being picky and not eating, the plate goes away as soon as the last one is done eating...and yes, I have sent them to bed hungry. Boy it's hard to see those meals go in the garbage, huh? Trust me, they eat a really big snack when they wake:). They can be stubborn little monkeys. Best of luck!

03-07-2012, 12:14 PM
I forgot to add that a parent of 1 of my DCKS gave me really good advice that sticks in my head. He was one of my first ones and I could not get a fruit or vegetable anywhere near this 1 year old...not even mixed in things...ie. carrot muffin! I was asking mom for any advice, I was at my wits end, and she simply said that she felt that I am responsible only for making sure that healthy meals are offerred. Beyond that, I am pretty much powerless to getting it in their tummys if they don't want it, and not to worry myself so much about it.

03-07-2012, 12:23 PM
Kids who don't tidy up don't get to play the next day. They are directed to a set of specific toys and that is it - anything that doesn't have pieces so the garage and one car which is considered cleaned up by putting the car on the parking space. Redirect the child back to the "acceptable" toys for the entire first half of the playtime. After that allow him a bit more freedom but make him clean up before moving on which should be what is happening for everyone anyways but I know I let them make a mess cause they will pick it up as soon as I ask.

On the meal it is based on when the last child finishes. Unless there is a medical reason like child has chewing issues and needs to go slow or totally confused by cutlery then I let them have more. I serve to all, then they are washed and allowed to leave the table as they finish. Finished means clean plates. If there is still food they need to stay at the table just in case they feel hungry enough to eat more. I fix the plate with appropriate child size servings adjusted for normal appetite so nutrionally they really should be clearing their plates. Last child can stay while I clean up but that is it.

My gang generally goes to watch tv as they finish lunch which is a great incentive to the others to get busy eating. My upstairs playroom area is also the nap space so once we have cleaned up for lunch I prefer we didn't mess it up. Thoses that refused to clean up from our basement play area so we could come upstairs come and sit at the table in the kitchen while I make lunch instead of playing in the upstairs playroom.

03-07-2012, 04:38 PM
it's as if you read my mind...re: the slow eating

For clean up I litteraly assign books to A - babies to B - cars to C etc. If they didn't finish picking up their items I physically grab their hand, place it on the item and walk them to the bin, drop it in and tell them to "hurry up finish cleaning"! lol

Now about the eater. Mine is almost 3yrs in 2mos and she does have a liver condition. She needs to be on a high calorie diet, the more 'junk' the better....but all she wants for lunch EVERY day is PB&Jelly. Even when I cave in she still takes more than 30min to eat it....thats with me saying "bite....chew....swal low....another bite" until she's finished. There have been times where she's had maybe 1 chicken finger and it's been over an hour - I just send her to bed. I can't do it anymore at that point. It's my breaking point, I'm drained after that!

03-07-2012, 08:38 PM
Try cutting the food up really small to save time in biting and limits amount of chewing needed. Hopefully more food will go down with less chewing that way which means faster. Will she eat faster if a half sandwich is made and placed just out of reach with part of a meal put in front of her and told when this is gone you can have the sandwich unless you run out of time.

Inspired by Reggio
03-07-2012, 09:29 PM
Ya - with tidy up time I try to make it a game like the 2 minute tidy we 'race the egg timer' to see if we can get it all put away ... I also have all the bins labelled for them to find where things go so it literally is like putting a big ole puzzle back together at the end of a play period .... but for those kids who need more 'direction' I too assign them things to tidy as well 'so X you need to put away 6 blocks please'. For those who really 'stall / resist' tidy up time the natural consequence of you cannot take out anything 'new' until you have tidied up the last thing you had cause I cannot trust you do to it all at the 'end' of playtime....and this continues until they are tidying up without prodding and than they can 'earn' the right to play a little bigger with multiple things like the other super tidier do ;)

For meal time as long as everyone is having good conversation while still eating I do not have a time limit on it either - meal time is such an awesome time for developing self help skills of pouring, serving, sharing, manners not to mention a great time for 'conversation' about our day I do not want to 'rush it' - snack time usually takes us at least 30 minutes and lunch takes us an hour at least but everyone is 'engaged' in the experience and eating at the same time it is a great 'group' time together ... my crew often has 3 servings at lunch hence my depressing grocery bills.

Everyone stays at the table until the last one is 'finished eating' to keep us company which I find encourages those 'picky eaters' to finally try foods after seeing others eating and enjoying it ... however if everyone is finished and someone is just well picking verses actually eating - they get a two minute warning that everyone else is done now and lunch / snack will be over and if they do not get 'busy' than yes the bowls go away!

03-08-2012, 06:56 PM
I've never had trouble with clean up, which we have to do twice a day, after lunch so I can set up the beds and before the children go home. I sing a little clean up song and even the 22 month old boy sings along as he helps tidy, but it kind of sounds like 'Neen up, neen up'. Just teach them from the beginning as soon as they are walking to help you. I know there are some stubborn children but as long as the majority are helping then I just ask the one who isn't working to pick up cars only or blocks only to make a sort of puzzle or game or something for them. That works with my current group.

For slow eaters, ouch, I feel your pain! I had a girl who was the slowest eater I've ever seen in my life and she just graduated to JK last Sept. For the year before I talked to her and her Mom about getting her to speed up or she would lose a lot of weight when she started school and had a shorter time limit to eat. I started just giving her smaller portions and a little more if she actually finished, which was rare. I was getting really ticked about throwing food in the garbage and if we didn't have plans I would let her sit there forever sometimes. It's a special challenge!