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Why does my child take such a long time to eat food?

Q: My daughter is 5 years old. She eats very slowly and takes about a hour to chew one chapatti. Some I tell her stories, show cartoons but she makes me shout everyday. Everyday I have to tell her to eat faster and finish her food. Till now she has never asked for food herself? I have tried lots of tricks, but there is no effect on her. A single bite remains in her mouth for hours and she eats so slowly that everyone gets irritated in the house. Kindly suggest me some remedy.

A:Some children have a genuine problem about swallowing. It is not necessarily being stubborn. You should consult a good paediatrician to ensure that she does not have a physiological problem. For some time, you could stop forcing her to eat chapatti and give her softly cooked food, like rice or sooji or an interesting soup. An omelet will be a good addition to her diet. She needs to get enough nourishment. Shouting at her will not help anybody, least of all, your daughter. If she likes fruit, that could be added to her daily intake. She must have plenty of milk and milk products, like butter, cheese and yogurt. Make sure that you spend some of her play time with her and that the adults she is fond of are available to her, other than mealtimes. Sometimes, children take a long time over their meals, because that is the time that the mother surely spends with them. I am not saying that it is so in every case. I am just helping you to identify the roots of her eating problem. Asking elders in the family may also help, as they would have dealt with similar issues. All the best.

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