Helping child to chew food properly

Contributed by : Palak Vyas, Prachi Shah, Dr Aliraza Khunt   
Helping child to chew food properly

Kids tend to skip chewing and try to swallow the food directly. Do not get angry, try to be patient and address the problem.

Chewing may start around 6-9 months. By 10 months, your baby should be given textured food and opportunity to chew. Babies can do light chewing till 1.5 years as they still lack molar teeth.

There can be several reasons behind a child not chewing its food properly:

  • Late introduction of food
  • Delayed development of motor skills (jaw, tongue, swallowing)
  • Disinterest in food because of test, texture, or flavour
  • Boredom of same food
  • Allergy
  • Consumption of milk three times
  • Big portions
  • Distraction

Please refrain from the following behaviour:

  • Generally, parents put on child's favourite cartoon or TV programme and feed their child. For parents, the only concern is to make the child eat sufficient amount of food so as soon as this is done, they think that their part of duty to feed the child is over.
  • This is where children get into the bad habit of eating while watching T.V. When a child eats in front of the screen, (s)he does not know what (s)he is eating. The child will also not chew the food properly.
  • If a child observes that his/her parent is taking a sandwich in their hand while going to office and eats moving around the house or watches television while eating, the child will learn the same. The child models their parents’ behaviour and thus (s)he doesn’t chew properly. Either they eat too slow or just gulp without chewing.

For improvement, take the following steps:

  • When a child eats food on their own, proper chewing habit develops easily. This way the child becomes independent and learns to do his/her own thing. So encourage them to eat their food on their own.
  • Make it a point to have a family meal time where everyone eats together.
  • Vary the type of food, food's texture to keep the food interesting for your child.
  • Instead of a screen, tell them stories or talk to them while feeding them.
  • Make sure there is sufficient gap between meals. When the child is not hungry, (s)he does not chew the food properly. Take this as a sign that your child is not hungry.
  • You can constantly keep telling them about the importance of chewing process and help them develop this habit by following it yourself.
  • Eat with them, but in a different plate. When a child watches you eating calmly and properly, (s)he learns the same.

Bee Suggestions

Helping Children eat food on their own

When a child is ready to eat food on its own, (s)he will give you signals. Look for the signals and you will know how to help your baby.

Food at the right age

Introducing food at the right age will make your child habituated with eating all kinds of food.

What to do if child does not drink milk?

If your child does not like milk or takes time to have a glass of milk every morning, do not get impatient.

Underweight child

Underweight children require foods and diet that can provide them with enough nutrition and sufficient calories.

Gluten free diet for children or not

It is very important to maintain a balanced diet for the proper growth and development of the baby. Going gluten free or not is an individual's choice. It is better to look into the pros and cons before taking the decision.

Diet for babies from 0 to 12 months

Gradual introduction of different foods leads to proper development in children.

Developing healthy food habits

Children learn from your behaviour. Changing your eating habits will help them develop healthy eating habits as well.

Child being choosy about food

It is not right to completely put the blame on kids for their disinterest in healthy food. As parents, we need to reflect on ourselves and take necessary measures for the same.

Signs that indicate babies are hungry

Irritability is probably the most common signs among babies that indicates a child is hungry.

Fussy eaters and giving food to them

You can gradually make your fussy eater child accustomed with all kinds of food.

Overweight Child

For overweight children, you cannot just take away interesting food altogether. It needs to happen gradually over the time.

Dealing with a child’s sugar eating habits

Sugar is a very tempting food item. Keep the sugar intake in check since the first day a child learns to eat; this way things will not out of hand.

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