My son is 2½ years old and he eats as if someone is going to take his food away from him - although that has never happened. He stuffs his mouth and barely chews the food.

We've always told him to take small bites, then chew, then swallow. Sometimes he does this, sometimes he doesn't. Perhaps 2½ is too early but I expect that it should be possible.

The problem is not the meal size, but the mouthfuls. Any tips?

3 Answers 3


I have physically held my son's and daughter's hands when they started doing this and said quietly "Chew and swallow". Or if that didn't work, I've given them only the food on their plate that I feel comfortable with them putting in their mouth. Choking is a huge fear for me and I don't mess around with it. My son is 4 and has had this impulse under control for over a year, but my daughter is almost two and will do this same thing sometimes. I think it's just a developmental thing that I've seen mentioned many many times.


Toddlers are toddlers. You can't really reason with them. There's nothing you can say that will make a light bulb go off above his head, and then nod sagely as he understands your sound argument.

Is he choking on foods? Is it a serious problem? If so, it may be time to give him mashed or blended food that he won't choke on.

Otherwise, I imagine that this is a problem that will fix itself. He'll get a little older, and eventually figure out how to chew his food.


We also had an issue with too big of bites with one of our children. We played the "counting" game to see if he could chew a certain number of times...made it a game and it worked great! (slowed our eating pace down too) Good luck.

  • It helps if you can count to more than 3 ;-) My toddler currently counts 1, 2, 5, 7, 9 with great enthusiasm but I prefer that he keeps his mouth closed while chewing. Jun 12, 2012 at 7:36

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