Eating Breakfast - 45 Minutes? WDYD?


New Member
He's 6. I've tried everything: No TV. TV. Encouragement. Yelling. My husband and I eating with him (we could do *<u>two</u>* breakfasts to his one). Him eating alone. Him eating with me supervising him.

It takes my child 45 minutes at least to eat breakfast. Granted, it's a pretty good-sized one. Usually - toast with-honey, or Cherrios; fresh fruit; and juice - sometimes bacon too.

Any suggestions? Anything that worked for you? Or is this a Basket C? He has to be out the door for school at 7:30. We make him get up at 6 so he can eat and dress himself.

The reason that keeps me from Basket C is at some point in his life - he will have more and more pressure on him to get up and get going. Tougher school, sports, etc.

Thanks in advance -

timer lady

Queen of Hearts
I'd let him skip breakfast if it starts his day out with such chaos. Put a breakfast bar in his backpack; let him eat breakfast at school (our SD provides breakfast for every child free).

I'd also let the school know that difficult child is refusing breakfast.

Some kids just cannot wake up enough to eat before school.
Let me tell you what I did.

I explained that we have X time to get ready, and X time of that is for eating. Here is your meal.
There were times that she did not finish the meal. There were times that she did not start the meal. I initially freaked, OMG, sending a Kindergartener to school with no breakfast? Unheard of! But her body is just not wired to "have" to eat breakfast just becasue it is "breakfast time". I agree with Linda, send a breakfast bar or an apple and let the teacher know what is going on.


Sheena-Warrior Momma
Our difficult child is also a very slow "getter upper". I used to have to give him about 90 minutes to get dressed and eat....who takes that long? We're now down to about 45 minutes at 9 yrs old. Threatening punishment didn't work but telling him that those corn flakes would taste pretty nasty for afternoon snack if he didn't finish them worked. :smile: He didn't really think I would save them...WRONG. One day of eating those soggy corn flakes for snack did the trick....bad mommy...:rofl:....he might not eat a whole bowl but what he puts in his bowl goes in him before the bus gets here now.

by the way our school district provides free breakfast for all children also...I make it a treat when it is something he can have (we have to severely limit sugar with-his medications) to eat at school if he does well at home on the day he can't eat at school.


New Member
First, I am not and never ever have been a breakfast person, neither was my brother nor my mother, nor 2 of my children. Food holds NO appeal to any of us until we have been awake 5-6 hours. Second, I am a slow eater, myself. I worked 2-3 jobs all my life, ever since being out on my own since age 12, and it was always in types of jobs where you eat in between work, (no scheduled breaks) If I were to eat during work hours (and I worked often 16-20 hours a day) I would have to eat VERY fast. That meant, for me, when I did not have to eat fast, I didn't. I take an hour to eat a meal, easy!
I also find meal time to be a social event, and a bonding time and a pleasant activity. It is also a celebration event.

In elem school my kids started school at 7 am. (no easy feat, I worked till 2 am) And my kids ate sloooooowwwww. I had to wake them at 5 am to get them to get thru their morning routine to get them to school on time. This also was no easy task becuz our psychiatrist and tdocs and WRAP and SASS persons required my older child to attend a peer group out of our town, across the county that did not end until 9 PM.
Our school did NOT provide breakfast- free or otherwise- to anyone. Our school also did what I consider intrusive and weird things- they would question the kids "what did you have for breakfast, what is in your lunch, what did you have for dinner" Not one on one in the nurses office if a child complained of a tummy ache, but rather as a part of class many many days a week. They also did "lectures" at orientations, open houses and parent teacher conferences about what is considered a meal. &lt;sigh&gt; (I found them abnoxious)

I have one child who was terrible in the mornings, and could not even dress herself most mornings, (later a newer psychiatrist thought the medications might have contributed to the problem) and she caused us many meetings with case managers, WRAP and SASS over morning routine and breakfast etc. We caught a LOT of criticism over WHAT we fed for breakfast and how long we permitted a child to take to eat.

It is my opinion that some people do like to eat slow. Eating slow is NOT a "bad thing" Eating slow is healthier.
I did not read that your child balked at eating breakfast, so I am assuming it is not that your child does not WANT to eat in the morning? If your child WANTS to eat in the morning, you may have to reconsider what time your child wakes up in the mornings. -- waking up with enough time to permit your child to eat breakfast leisurely. Or if it is that your child is not awake enough to eat, maybe you could rearrange your morning routine so breakfast is eaten after the rest of morning routine? Maybe "finger foods" would be a better breakfast food choice? Something that is simple and easy to eat and does not require utensils or dishes? Maybe cut chunks of fruit and yogurt to dip it in? Or cereal bars or granola bars? Waffles cut into sticks and spread with peanut butter? Cheese cubes? Hard boiled eggs? you could freeze juice into ice pops with sticks and they could be eaten as a popsickle (especially with summer coming?)

Our school once told me rather nastily that DINNER should not take more than 20 minutes when I complained about the school only giving our elem school kids 10 mins to eat lunch. I was horrified. in my opinion dinner with the whole family should take at LEAST an hour. (on those days when you can get everyone together at one time, which I still am able to accomplis, but I know not everyone can)

For many people eating is a social affair, a celebratory event, and a pleasure. Alas there are also people who have little interest in eating and only do so becuz they have to. You need to figure out WHY your child eats so slow at breakfast and then go on from there.


Active Member
Sometimes my difficult child doddles. When it starts I give her a certain amount of time to finish. If she's not done, then she has to go get ready for school and the rest gets tossed.

If it's on the weekend, don't worry about it. If it's before school, then set the timer. Tell him he has x amount of time to finish and then he has to get ready for school. If he still has time after he's gotten everything done, then he can finish the rest of his breakfast.

During the week, I try to give her things that she can eat quickly. Oatmeal, microwave pancakes, waffles with peanut butter. I save the bowl of Cheerios for when she has more time, cause although she really likes them, it takes her forever to eat.


New Member
Thanks for your replies so far -

When I was little - I had trouble eating breakfast too. Mostly, it was anxiety related. It got to the point where my mother gave up and I just didn't eat. My parents weren't breakfast people anyway. But my husband was/is; and looking back, I remember that not having that nutrition in my stomach was worse than having to eat actually. In all honesty, I think my son would not eat if I left it to him to get a quicky at at school.

In fact, I just last week had trouble with him coming home with only about 10% of his lunch eaten for the whole week. I knew it's because he's goofing off. So, we cured that by telling him no snacks after school; left-over lunch for dinner; and no cookies for dessert. That worked, because he challenged me on it one day. It was the inability to get his Oreoes after dinner that tid the trick I think.

So, perhaps CC's idea of giving him X amount of time to finish and then he can have his leftover b'fast for an afternoon snack /forums/images/%%GRAEMLIN_URL%%/sick.gif could very potentially do the trick.


New Member
Is your child on any medications? Many medications can cause anorexia type problems, and difficulty eating. Offering more appealing choices might help?
My oldest was on stims with no eating problems, but my youngest was a poor eater to begin with and then on stims, he could not absolutely could not eat until they wore off. Approx 11 PM he would wake up SCREAMING he was STARVING.


New Member
We have to set the timer for our difficult child. But we only do this at breakfast. He has never been an eater, though. I understand your pain. He will happily sit at the dinner table for over an hour to eat a bowl of macaroni and cheese! This is one thing that we have stopped fighting him about. I am just happy to see him put food in his mouth.


Active Member
Some thoughts from a long-term non-breakfast person:

1) This is definitely Basket C. Especially since he's only 6. You have a long way to go before he has to be seen to be eating breakfast more quickly (if ever).

2) My mother used to make me eat breakfast before heading off to school. I had an hour's travel (and more) and the sight of food made me nauseous. I was also being badly bullied, I suspect there was an anxiety component in there as well, with the result that the more my mother tried to make me eat, the worse my morning nausea became until now, I still can't eat breakfast until I've been up and awake for several hours. I tell people that I need to wait for my stomach to wake up. My mother tried all sorts of things, she really did try to vary the menu so I would be more likely to be able to face food. But it was just no good. I think if she had left me alone or just made me an extra sandwich, I would have been better off. Instead, the food sat in my stomach like a lump of lead, slowly decomposing and repeating on me.

3) I had similar problems with easy child. I remembered that I had done better when I had choice available, as well as portability. My mother might make toast for me and I would eat it on the way to the bus stop. So with the kids - I packed extra food in their lunchbox that would work as a late breakfast. I noticed their pattern on weekends and found that with easy child, she wouldn't eat anything until she had been up for hours - like me.

4) Extra things to pack for a late breakfast - easy child would often be ready to eat by the time she got to school. I remembered that when I was working, I kept a box of cereal and a carton of milk at work. I would get in to work ten minutes early and eat a bowl of cereal. When the boss arrived for our early morning allocation of tasks, he'd be drinking coffee and I would be finishing my breakfast, as we all talked. It meant I was fuelled up for the morning and not immediately hungry for a snack.
So for the kids - I kept extra supplies of cooked sausages in the fridge. The kids would happily eat them cold, or I would make a sausage sandwich for a late breakfast. A cereal bar is not generally a good idea as they are loaded with sugar and fat, they're really a candy bar in disguise. They are not a good substitute for breakfast. The best breakfast depends on what sort of diet you follow, whether you pack it with carbs or protein, but there are always portable versions of either.
Dry cereal - put it in a freezer bag. Cheerios work well with this.
An extra sandwich.
Fruit - but they need more than this if you can get it into them.
A piece of cheese.
A carton of yogurt - if they aren't into sweetened flavoured yogurt, try a serve of tzaziki with a slice of bread. easy child's favourite was tzaziki & bread with Kalamata olives and pickled octopus. A bit heavy on the salt, but plenty of protein, some carbs and no other kid would steal her lunchbox.
A boiled egg.
A cold cooked sausage.
Twiggy sticks - small salami sticks.
A cold slice of pizza (I used to make pizza using a slice of bread as a base - make it the night before and let the kids grab it out of the fridge).
Vegetable sticks and cottage cheese/corn relish dip

By putting the breakfast in portable form and stocking the lunchbox, you're ensuring that your child has access to moderately healthy and tasty food for when they ARE hungry. Forcing a kid to eat when they're not ready to can lead to eating disorders later on. On weekends, observe when and what he eats for breakfast and try to fit in timing with appropriate times for him to eat at school.

And yes, let the teachers know. I have some kids in my lunchtime class whose parents have told me that the kid often forgets to eat. I've made sure that these kids are permitted to eat lunch in my class, although food in classrooms is generally forbidden. But these kids often would skip their lunch to get to my class faster. This way as I walk around the classroom and tutor, I also remind them to have another bite.

What your child brings home should tell you if he's eating enough or you're giving him too much. Kids will eat when they're hungry - I see kids who have everything eaten by recess. difficult child 3 would often not eat a thing at school (anxiety, we know now - it's hard to eat when you're constantly nauseous). He would get home from school and demolish the contents of his lunchbox, then simply keep eating until bedtime. Now he's at home, he often won't eat until mid morning, then eats a big (generally hot) lunch, snacks on fruit & vegetables through the day and eats an early meal at night.

easy child was the youngest anorexic on the block, I used to say. She stopped eating when she was just over a year old. She wouldn't eat breakfast or lunch, she only had one bottle of formula a day and then drank water. So I mixed a raw egg in with her formula. She finally got back to eating when she was about 2. She wasn't underweight, she was doing OK, and I've been told that no child will starve themselves (unless they've actually got anorexia). This is more about eating habits and food preferences, rather than control or body image issues.

For some time easy child 2/difficult child 2 was not able to eat in the mornings, but agreed she needed a breakfast. She would make a chocolate banana egg flip. Two eggs, half a pint of milk, one banana, chocolate flavouring. If we'd boiled the eggs, given her a banana and a glass of chocolate milk it would be the same breakfast. In this case, it was all in one glass and she drank it down. OK, I wasn't thrilled about the chocolate, but she's a skinny thing and it wasn't making her fat. You can do it without the chocolate anyway, especially if the banana is really ripe.

I hope you can find some solution here that you're both happy with.



New Member
LOL, used to take carmel apples on a stick to bus stop--------or cold french toast made into an appleasuce sandwhich.


Well-Known Member
Gosh, you've gotten some good answers here... and you've come up with-some good stuff on your own.
I don't know what else to add but support.


Basket C. difficult child has always been an incredibly slow eater. My concern was that she got the food down, not how long it took. It used to exasperate the babysitter because it would take difficult child and hour and a half to eat lunch. She now has another kid the same way. We have had some issues with not having enough time for her to eat lunch at school. It's a really old building and not really equipped to handle the number of students it houses, so they rush them in and out of the cafeteria. I've talked to them and they will give her more time.

This is one of those things that I just chalk up as being part of who she is. It has gotten better on it's own as she's gotten older.
I also would not worry about the child not getting enough to eat. When a kid is hungry, he will EAT. Let's say he does not get breakfast for a couple days...I bet he wolfs it down on day 3 or 4. It seems to balance itself out.

Good luck to ya.


New Member
Thanks to all, again, who responded.

I did get some great answers.
For breakfast, I'd really like to see him cut it to 30 minutes. So perhaps we'll aim for that over the summer.


Well-Known Member
Neither one of my kids are breakfast eaters during the week. They would rather sleep. Just this past year, Son will finally eat the school breakfast. But, by that time, he's been up awhile.
Daughter still doesn't unless husband takes her to StarBucks before school.

I would let it go, too. Just not worth it.


New Member
easy child#3 takes over an hour to eat ANY meal, difficult child takes 2 minutes.. maybe easy child is really a difficult child in disguise?


New Member
I just make breakfast the last thing before going out the door. Sometimes there is ample time for eating. Sometimes its a quick grab for something to munch on, on the bus.

No more stress for me, either way!


Active Member
I suggest trying to totally change tactics and making the most of what you have to deal with in the morning. When things weren't going well here due to AM sibling conflicts (they all got up by 6 back then)I started making a variety of hot breakfasts and then I sat down with all my kids while they ate and read great books to them. They're 13, 11, and 8 now and we've been doing it for two years and have read Charlotte's Web, the Narnia series, Marley and Me, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Homer Price, Harry Potter, Mr Popper's Penguins, etc. Right now I'm reading The Black Stallion to them. I keep a journal in the kitchen where we record the books and we enjoy looking back to see what we read together.

It's totally transformed our mornings by taking a bad situation and turning it around for good. Often we wish we had more time at breakfast.

Pam R

New Member
We always said DS was going to be a lawyer for 2 reasons: 1. He would argue to the death and 2. He was in training for the 2 hour lunch.

It has always taken DS forever to eat any meal. Mostly because he's NEVER been interested in eating, since birth. Because we homeschooled, generally he just took however long it took.

Skipping a complete breakfast is definately NOT an option for him. Without a balanced breakfast his behavior gets really bad, really quickly. It has to do with his blood chemistry being way off. NOT going there.

As far as getting him to eat quickly, we've never really succeeded. Sometime, when we've had to be somewhere, he brings the less messy bits in the car and finishes there.

He's 16 now and still eats slowly most of the time. The ADD sets him up for distractions and it doesn't take much to side track him. It's constant redirection until he's through eating.

Not eating in the morning sets one up to feel "lean and mean" for a while in the morning. Then the "must eats" hit about mid morning and it's so bad one tends to go for junk, instead of a solid meal. That sets up an up and down cycle with the blood chemistry, and the way one feels and behaves.

Not good for kids who already have behavior problems. Getting a solid meal with protein in is very important around here for behavior control.

That's our take on it. Not much help with the speeding up bit, I'm afraid.

Pam R.